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Chronic Pain Clinic


Below are some frequently asked questions about The Chronic Pain Clinic.

General Information
Appointment Information
Cancellations and No-shows
Questions about Physical Treatments
Questions about Psychological Treatments

General Information

Where is the Chronic Pain Clinic located?
The Chronic Pain Clinic is located at 525 University Avenue, Suite 925, Toronto, ON M5G 2L3. We are located on the southeast corner of University Avenue and Elm Street, directly across from The Hospital for Sick Children main building. 

Do I need to visit the main SickKids building to register for my child’s clinic appointment?
No, you can come directly to the Chronic Pain Clinic to register for your scheduled appointment.

Is there a parking garage close to the Chronic Pain Clinic?
SickKids has an underground parking lot below the main hospital building for patients and families. Please allow about 20 minutes to park your car and walk to the Chronic Pain Clinic. 

My child is running out of the medicines prescribed by the clinic. What do I do?
Only medications prescribed by the Chronic Pain Clinic will be renewed. A minimum of 48 hours notice is required but the longer notice the better! Same day prescriptions CANNOT be guaranteed. If you need to have a prescription renewed by the Chronic Pain Clinic, please call 416-813-6975 and follow the telephone prompts to reach the clinic nursing staff.

The referral for my child was not accepted by the Chronic Pain Clinic, what do I do now?
Each referral is carefully reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine whether our program will meet your needs. In cases where a referral is not accepted, an alternate plan will be suggested to the physician or nurse practitioner who referred you to our clinic.

Is there someone who can speak my language at the clinic?
We will do everything possible to make sure you understand the information shared during the clinic appointment. Please contact us as soon as possible if you require an interpreter. A minimum 48 hours notice is required to book an interpreter but the longer notice the better! In cases where they are not available, a telephone-based resources are available. It is recommended that friends or family members NOT act as an interpreter. Important health or medical information could be misinterpreted or missed.

I live very far away and can’t come to the clinic in person. What are my options?
We require you to come to the clinic for the first appointment because an important part of the assessment includes a physical examination by the doctor(s) and/or physiotherapist(s). Telemedicine may be an option for future, follow-up appointments. Please discuss this concern with the team.

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Appointment Information

What do I need to bring for the appointment?
Please make sure you bring the following items to your clinic appointment:

  • Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card
  • Appointment letter
  • Any medical information such as referral letters, X-rays, CT scans, information from other therapies used now or in the past
  • List of all current medications and any pain medications previously used
  • All current medications in their original packaging
  • Appropriate clothing to make the physical assessment easier (tank tops and shorts are best)

How long is the waiting list for a clinic appointment?
The clinic waiting list is approximately three to four months depending on the number of referrals to the clinic.

What if my child can’t wait three to four months for an appointment?
Each patient’s referral will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes, an urgent appointment may be needed and your appointment may be sooner than the average waiting period. If there is an urgent situation and you cannot wait for an appointment, please visit your nearest emergency department or doctor’s office to seek medical attention.

How early should I arrive for my appointment? If I come earlier, will I get to be seen earlier by the team?
Please try to arrive on time for your scheduled appointment. The time we schedule for you takes into consideration the time it takes for you to register in the clinic, complete an initial assessment form, and your meeting with the Chronic Pain Clinic team. Our team will do our best to be on schedule.

How long will my clinic appointment be?
The length of the clinic appointment will depend on whether you are a new patient scheduled for an initial appointment or coming in for a follow-up. The length may also vary depending on how complex your pain is. An initial appointment is scheduled for about two hours and a follow up appointment is scheduled for 40 minutes. We try our best to remain on time so other children and families don’t have to wait too long.  

Who will I meet with at my clinic appointment?
At your initial clinic appointment, you will be meeting with our chronic pain team that includes an anesthesiologist, an advanced practice nurse, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, and a physiotherapist. As SickKids is a teaching hospital, there maybe other health care professionals present  in appointments. If this occurs  you will be informed of the observers or students prior to your clinic appointment. 

Why do I have to meet with so many people?
The Chronic Pain Clinic believes that chronic pain is best managed by the “3 P's" approach: pharmacological (medications), psychological (using your mind) and physical (using your body) approaches. This means that we have health care professionals that specialize in each of these areas who work together to develop a pain management plan for you.

My child is having lots of pain.  Can I come into the clinic to set up an appointment?
The Chronic Pain Clinic is an outpatient clinic that only receives referrals from community doctors, hospital doctors and nurse practitioners. If you feel that you may benefit from coming to our clinic, please have your family doctor, paediatrician or nurse practitioner refer you to our clinic. If you are having lots of pain and require immediate medical care, please visit the nearest emergency room or family doctor. 

Do I need to bring an overnight bag for my child?
No, an overnight bag is not necessary. The clinic is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 AM to 3 PM. All appointments will be scheduled during our hours of operation. However, you may wish to bring snacks while you wait and/or clothes your child can move easily in for their initial appointment.

Can the clinic accommodate my child and I to stay overnight?
No, if you require accommodation, please visit Nearby Accommodations for more information. 

Is there a play room for my siblings/other children to stay in during my clinic appointment?
Unfortunately, there is no play room within the Chronic Pain Clinic for siblings to stay in while you are in your appointment. We strongly recommend not bringing siblings to appointments. However, the main SickKids building offers a place for siblings of patients in which to play while parents and patients are in appointments. Please visit the Play Park for more information. 

Can I/my child come alone for his or her clinic appointment?
For the initial clinic appointment we recommend both parents and/or those most involved in your care to all attend. It is very important for even young children to learn how to take care of their own health, particularly with adolescents. During subsequent clinic visits the team will work together with you to help transition toward independence.

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Cancellations and No-shows

I can’t come to my scheduled clinic appointment. What should I do?
If you cannot come to your scheduled clinic appointment, please let the clinic know as soon as possible to reschedule. Doing so will also allow the clinic to schedule other urgent patients waiting for appointments.

How long do I have to wait for a new appointment if I cancel my appointment? Do I need to wait three to four months again?
We will try our best to schedule another appointment as soon as possible, based on availability at that time. Waiting times cannot be guaranteed.

How many times can I cancel my appointment?
It is best if you do not cancel your scheduled appointment as our clinic waiting list is very long. However, we understand that emergency situations can arise. If you cancel two consecutive appointments with the clinic, our clinic will contact your referring doctor or nurse practitioner for a reassessment of your need for our clinic’s services. We will not rebook your appointment and a new referral from your doctor or nurse practitioner will be necessary should you wish to rebook an appointment with us.

What is a “no-show”?
A no show is if you do not attend a scheduled appointment and the clinic was not informed of the cancellation. If you are a new patient and do not show for a scheduled appointment, an appointment will not be rebooked until you contact us to request another appointment.

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Questions about Physical Treatments

How do I find a physical therapist (PT) in my community?
PT’s are found through The College of Physiotherapists of Ontario. Under the heading of “Public” go to “Find a Physiotherapist”where you can enter your postal code and a listing of registered therapists can be viewed. It is best to call around to the clinics and ask for a therapist who enjoys working with children or teens as it is essential to have a good rapport for successful therapy.

What should I bring to the physical therapy visits?
Bring the contact information of any current therapist providing services for pain management. Also, bring a change of clothes for the physical assessment – tank top and shorts are best. Bring any braces or orthotics that are currently being used so the team may review them.

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Questions about Psychological Treatments

How do I find a  psychiatrist in my community?

If members of the Pain Team cannot suggest psychiatrists in your community, ask your family doctor or paediatrician if they know a psychiatrist they refer to locally.  
If this does not help, you can go to The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. Under the heading “Doctor Search” you can search for a psychiatrist and a listing of psychiatrists can be viewed. Please note some psychiatrists require a referral from a family doctor or nurse practitioner.

How do I find a psychologist in my community?

To find a psychologist in your community, go to The College of Psychologists. Under "Member Search" you can search for a psychologist based on areas of practice, client populations, and languages of services provided. For chronic pain management in children and adolescents, we recommend searching under the areas of practice of clinical and/or health psychology. Please note that some psychologists require a referral from a family doctor or nurse practitioner. 

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