Frequently asked questions for restart of clinical care

Current as of: July 6, 2020, 10 a.m.

With clinical activities restarting, should I call the hospital to reschedule my child’s surgery, procedure or appointment?

We recognize the last few months have been difficult, especially for those patients and families who had a surgery or procedure postponed, but the restart process has to be very gradual. We will be contacting patients and families when we are able to reschedule a previously cancelled surgery, procedure or appointment. There is no reason to contact the hospital at this time.

How are you deciding which patients are being treated and when?

An ethics framework document and new waitlist management system was developed by our staff and family advisors to ensure we continue to treat patients fairly and equitably. The timing of surgeries and procedures will consider many factors to ensure patient needs are met in the safest and most timely manner possible.

How can I ensure that the urgency of my child's surgery is being considered when it is being rescheduled?

SickKids never stopped treating patients who had urgent needs or emergencies. Our ethical framework will guide us in prioritizing the order of all other patients. We will contact you with a new date when we can and appreciate your patience.

My child turned 18 during the postponement. What happens now?

We are committed to completing the care we started before it was interrupted by COVID-19 for all of our patients. If your child turned 18 during this time, there is no need to be concerned. Your health-care team will continue to care for your child until the surgery or procedure is finished, including any follow-up treatment or appointments that are necessary afterwards.

I am not very comfortable coming to SickKids if it will be getting more crowded. What are my options and what safety protocols are in place?

We will continue to offer virtual care first when possible, but if a surgery or other procedure needs to be performed, it will be necessary to come to the hospital. Safety is our number one priority at all times for everyone. For those coming to the hospital we are maintaining a number of safety measures to keep everyone healthy, including screening, testing, masking, physical distancing and visitor restrictions.

With potential delays due to traffic, screening and elevator restrictions, how early should I arrive for my procedure or appointment?

The safety measures in place and external factors can cause delays in getting inside the hospital. Your health-care team will advise you on how to best plan ahead.

Are there any exceptions to the number of people who may accompany a child to the hospital?

We recognize the challenges associated with limiting visitors. Please discuss your situation with the health-care team and they will let you know if the policy allows for an exception. To apply for an exception or appeal a decision, contact the Office of Patient and Family Experience.

If I need to bring my child for a COVID-19 test before the surgery or procedure but live far away, can we do the test closer to home instead?

While testing is available across Ontario, we strongly recommend testing at SickKids as we must have the results prior to the surgery or procedure. If we do not have the results in time, there is a risk of having to cancel.

What supports are in place for my child if they are feeling anxious about having surgery or coming to the hospital for any reason during COVID-19?

Our staff are trained to deal with children who are anxious. Your health-care team can also connect you with our Child Life Specialists, who have a number of programs in place and prepared videos to help your child feel comfortable at all times at SickKids.

If COVID-19 is under control, why can’t the activity level be back to normal immediately?

The safety of patients, families and staff is our number one priority. Together with the Ministry of Health and Toronto Public Health, we will closely monitor our progress at all times before deciding to increase or decrease clinical activity.

For more information please ask your health-care team or visit for updates.