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Areas of Care

Chronic Pain Clinic

About us

The Chronic Pain Clinic is a specialized service for the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with chronic pain. Our team recognizes that chronic pain can affect patients and caregivers in many different ways. The team is made up of an experienced team of anesthesiologists, advanced practice nurses, a psychologist, psychiatrist and physiotherapists. We provide family-centred care and offer treatments and therapies based on the best evidence.

Contact us

You can reach us at 416-813-6975.

Clinic/registration location

The Chronic Pain Clinic is located at 525 University Avenue, Suite 925. The building is located on the southeast corner of University Avenue and Elm Street, directly across from The Hospital for Sick Children main building.

When you register, a SickKids identification (ID) band will be placed on your child. The band must be worn on your child's arm or ankle at all times. Check your child's ID band to make sure the information is correct. If your child is not wearing a band or has the wrong one, it can lead to errors that can result in the wrong care for your child. Staff must always check the band before providing care to your child. Your child must keep the band on at all times while at SickKids.

If you or your child are sick before your appointment

Call the clinic if you or your child have had a cold, cough, diarrhea, fever or rash within two days of your appointment, or have been sick with or exposed to chicken pox in the last three weeks. Your appointment may need to be rescheduled. 

Tell the clerk, nurse or doctor if your child has been in a hospital outside of Canada within the last 12 months. 

If you cannot come to your child’s appointment, it is important that you call the clinic as soon as possible to cancel and reschedule.

Be on time

It is important that you arrive for your appointment on time. When you first arrive, please check in with the Clinic Coordinator who will register your visit. Both the patient and caregiver will be given a short assessment form to complete that will give the team a better understanding of the pain and its impact on your lives. This form is part of your appointment and initial assessment. The form takes about 20 to 30 minutes to complete, and must be completed prior to meeting with the Chronic Pain Clinic team.

If you are late, you may have to wait for other patients to be seen first. Allow lots of time to get to the hospital. It can take some time to get used to finding your way around and it is important to be on time for your child’s appointment. Staff will try to see your child as close to your appointment time as possible. Please understand that some patients being seen ahead of you may need more time than expected, and this can cause delay for others.

Bring the following

  • You must show valid health-care coverage at every visit. If you do not, you will be required to pay a fee for the visit, unless coverage or insurance can be verified.

Proof of health-care coverage must be valid at the time of visit (not expired).

    • If you live in Ontario, show your child’s valid Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card.
    • If you live in another province, show your child’s provincial health-care card.
    • If you are a refugee claimant, show your child’s Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) certificate.
    • If you have private health insurance, show the appropriate information or documentation.
    • If you are receiving support from a Community Health Centre (CHC), show a letter from the CHC.
  • Your appointment card or letter
  • Toys, books, nut-free snacks, diapers and formula to keep your child comfortable and occupied in case there is a wait
  • Any medical information, such as referral letters, test results, information about current therapies, X-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds or CT scans
  • All medications your child is currently taking (in original packaging), including alternative and complementary treatments
  • Information about any therapies currently used for managing pain.
  • Behavioral and personality characteristic forms.

Try not to bring other children to the appointment

If other children must come, please consider taking them to the Play Park during your visit. The Play Park is a free, fun and safe place for brothers and sisters of patients to play. It is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from 11:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. It is located on the Main Floor of the Atrium, next to the parking elevators. All children over 2 ½ years of age are welcome. Trained staff and volunteers will watch your children carefully. You do not need to book in advance to use the Play Park. The Play Park number is 416-813-8884.

Latex allergy

Call the clinic before coming to the hospital if your child or anyone coming with them has a known or suspected allergy to latex.

Accessibility

All visitor entrances on the Main Floor are wheelchair accessible. SickKids has several wheelchair-accessible washrooms on the Main Floor. Both male and female washrooms in the Atrium have large change tables where children and teens can have diapers changed. There is another private wheelchair-accessible washroom with a large change table on the Service Floor of the Black Wing in Room S213, across the hall from Rehabilitation Services. Wheelchairs are available near the Atrium and University Avenue entrances.

Assistance dogs for children or parents with disabilities are allowed at SickKids. Please make sure they are clean and have up-to-date immunizations.

Interpreter Services

If you need an interpreter, please call the clinic before your appointment so we can arrange for an interpreter. There is no charge for an interpreter. Please give us at least 24 to 48 hours' notice to make it easier for us to find an interpreter for you.

What to expect during your visit

Photo of Chronic Pain Clinic

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 appointment. The length may also vary depending on the complexity of your child’s pain. An initial appointment is scheduled for 2 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.

At your initial clinic appointment, you will meet with our chronic pain team including: Anesthesiologist, Advance Practice Nurse, Psychologist, Psychiatrist and Physiotherapist. SickKids is a teaching hospital so there may be other health-care professionals present during the appointment. If this occurs you will be notified prior to your clinic appointment.

The Chronic Pain Clinic believes that chronic pain is best managed by the “3 Ps" 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 your child. The appointment with the Chronic Pain Clinic team will involve an assessment of your child’s pain and discussion on how it impacts life on a daily basis. For initial appointments, we will ask both the patient and the parent to describe the impact of the pain. Some of the topics we will talk about may include:

  • The history of the pain problem
  • How the pain is affecting sleep, mood, school, sports/hobbies, and seeing friends and family
  • What you and your child are currently doing to manage the pain
  • What medications you may be taking or may have taken
  • What physical exercises your child is doing
  • What coping strategies are helpful or unhelpful
  • Other medical information e.g. other conditions, allergies

The doctor and physiotherapist will also perform a physical examination.

After meeting with the team, you will be asked to wait briefly in the waiting area while the team reviews the assessment and collaborates on a plan of care. You will then be invited back into the appointment room where the team will discuss with you and your child their findings and their suggestions for treatment.

You will have lots of time to ask questions and give feedback on the pain management plan. At the end of the appointment, you will be given a summary of the pain management plan to take home.

If any referrals or follow-up appointments are needed, the clinic coordinator will be available to assist you with scheduling an appointment. In total, the initial appointment will take about two hours.