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First-in-Canada trauma recovery clinic opens at Sunnybrook

May 20, 2021

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After years of planning and months of renovations, a new clinic that aims to improve long-term outcomes for trauma patients has opened its doors at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

The Jennifer Tory Trauma Recovery Clinic, the first clinic of its kind in Canada, will provide an innovative model of follow-up care for trauma patients navigating a new reality that can often include a combination of physical disability, pain, mental illness and impaired cognitive function.

“For many of our trauma patients, leaving the hospital is just the beginning of a long and challenging recovery process. Centralizing their follow-up care in the Jennifer Tory Trauma Recovery Clinic will help better prepare them for life outside the hospital,” says Dr. Avery Nathens, Medical Director of Trauma and Surgeon-in-Chief at Sunnybrook who also led the development of the clinic alongside his colleagues in the Tory Trauma Program.

Until now, a trauma patient who had been discharged but still required follow-up with multiple care providers would have needed to visit several different areas of the hospital.

The Jennifer Tory Trauma Recovery Clinic will instead bring those care providers to the patients in a purpose-built space consisting of five exam rooms, a dedicated registration and waiting area, staff workstations and equipment areas, and a meeting room that can support virtual appointments if needed.

Accessible features have also been incorporated into the clinic, such as doorways wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and stretchers.

“Having this dedicated space will help us ensure patients are getting the support they need during their recovery and follow-up process,” says Corey Freedman, Manager of Trauma Services at Sunnybrook.

Dr. Nathens says the interprofessional nature of the clinic means that staff from across the hospital will be working with patients in the new space, including care providers from physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work, physiatry, psychology, clinical psychiatry and pain services.

“As an example, surgeons might not know what to do if a patient has post-traumatic stress disorder after their injury or is asking for more opioids to help with their pain. Having access to all of that expertise in the clinic will be helpful for both the care providers and the patients,” he says.

The clinic will be managed by Grace Walter, who is also the patient care manager of Sunnybrook’s trauma unit, to ensure a smooth transition from inpatient to outpatient care.

“We will follow trauma patients for a year after they are discharged from Sunnybrook, with the ultimate goal of helping patients transition back to their home community for ongoing support,” says Walter.

The clinic was made possible thanks to a leadership gift by Jennifer Tory, which has since inspired other donors to provide support.

Jennifer’s support for trauma recovery follows her family’s long history of involvement with Sunnybrook, and in particular the Tory Trauma Program, Canada’s first and largest trauma centre. Her parents, John and Liz, are benefactors of the John A. Tory Family Regional Trauma Centre at Sunnybrook and other critical programs.

Jennifer’s own dedication to Sunnybrook began at an early age, when she was a candy striper. She is a passionate leadership volunteer and a long-time member of the Sunnybrook Foundation Board of Directors.

Media contact

Sybil Millar
Communications Advisor
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
sybil.millar@sunnybrook.ca