Having surgery - Your surgical care journey

surgical team with patient

We are with you every step of the way on your surgical journey. While there can be changes that are specific to your individual needs, we have a pathway for you to ensure you are prepared for your surgical experience with us.


Preparation for surgery begins when the decision to have surgery is made with your surgeon. We will provide you with a pre-operative clinic appointment in our surgical assessment clinic to ensure you are safe and ready for your surgery. We will provide you with education materials to help you understand your surgery and have the opportunity to ask any questions.

Surgical assessment clinic (SAC)

All scheduled surgical patients are assessed by a skilled registered nurse in the surgical assessment clinic (SAC) prior to their surgery to ensure your safety during surgery. At your surgical assessment clinic appointment, you will complete all paperwork, any required diagnostic tests, and will receive a consult with an anaesthesiologist and/or medical physician if required for your surgery. The surgeon's office will schedule this appointment for you.
Inform your surgeon’s secretary if you require special assistance or have special language requirements. It is recommended you bring an interpreter with you to this appointment if needed.

If you live far from the hospital or do not require any pre-operative tests, a video conference or telephone interview can be arranged for you by your surgeon’s office as appropriate.

You must bring a completed Anaesthesia Patient Questionnaire to this appointment, a completed medical history (this must be completed by your family physician or surgeon), all of your current medications including any vitamins and herbal supplements, and a medication list from your home pharmacy.

 Surgical liaison navigation nurse

erin-morelli.jpgThe surgical program is excited to provide a surgical liaison nurse (SLN) for you and your family Monday – Friday from 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Our SLN will greet you and your family and escort you to the surgical assessment and discharge unit (SADU) while providing valuable information about the program and what to expect during your stay with us. You will have the opportunity to ask and have questions answered in a face to face interaction. 

When you enter the operating room, the SLN will then escort your family to the appropriate waiting area and provide contact information for communication and any questions that arise during your surgery. The SLN will then circle through the Operating Room, Post Anaesthetic Care Unit, and surgical discharge area for current information and communication about each patient as they continue on the surgical journey. The SLN will provide ongoing updates to your family while you are in surgery and be part of the communication loop during your stay. 

This role provides you and your family the opportunity to become a part of the healthcare team and work in partnership with your care providers. The SLN will reunite you and your family members after surgery once appropriate to do so and ensure expectations are shared.

The SLN will continue to care for you and your family after discharge by providing follow up telephone calls the day after surgery; answering any questions and continuing the relationship and partnership created the previous day.
You can reach our surgical liaison nurse Monday – Friday from 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at 905-472-7373 ext. 1146.

 Day of your surgery

On the day of your surgery you will be required to register at the central registration desk located in the main lobby of the hospital, Building A, Level 2. You will need to present your health card, provide any private insurance information and answer some questions such as “do you have any allergies”? You will receive an armband that has all of your information on it that will be reviewed by many of your care team during your stay with us. You will receive a map of the hospital from the registration clerk and be directed to the surgical family waiting room. In the surgical family waiting room, you will meet our surgical liaison navigation nurse who will provide you with information and answer any questions you and your family may have. 

What to bring to the Hospital?


  • Your valid Health Card (OHIP card). 
  • WSIB claim number if applicable.
  • Information about private health insurance or other health benefits. If you have private health insurance or receive other health benefits, this may help to cover the cost of preferred accommodation if you request to stay in a semi-private or private room
  • A copy of any advance directive (power of attorney or living will) you may have
  • Contact details for other healthcare providers who have been involved in your care to help us ensure continuity in your care
  • The names, addresses and telephone numbers of your family members, friends or other emergency contacts and your family doctor
  • Credit card information (number and expiry date) to pay for additional hospital expenses not covered by OHIP
  • Pertinent information from your referring physician (documents, x-ray reports, test results)


  • All your medications in their original bottles
  • A complete list of medications you are currently taking, including prescription medications, non-prescription medications, vitamin or mineral supplements and herbal remedies
  • Clothing and personal items
  • Loose, comfortable clothes to wear during the day that are easy to put on
  • Hearing aids and batteries, dentures and eyeglasses
  • Case for glasses/contact lenses (lenses must be removed prior to surgery)
  • Socks and comfortable shoes with non-skid rubber soles, such as running shoes. If you have limited movement in your arms or hands, we recommend bringing shoes with velcro straps
  • Walker, wheelchair or other mobility aids, labelled with your name and phone number
  • Anything that will make your stay more comfortable, such as books or other diversions. Complimentary Guest Wi-Fi is provided
  • We cannot take responsibility for your money or valuables. If you choose to bring them into the hospital, you are doing so at your own risk.

If staying overnight

  • Clothes to sleep in, such as a nightgown or pajamas and a robe
  • Slippers (rubber soles and closed backs are preferred)
  • Toiletries, such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, deodorant, tissues or lip and skin moisturizer. Please do not bring any scented products

Surgical Admission and Discharge Unit (SADU)

You will then proceed to the SADU with a hospital volunteer. You must wear hospital approved clothing to the operating room. All jewellery must be removed and personal clothing/valuables will be secured in a locker. The SADU nurse will review your vital signs and reconfirm that you are ready for the surgery.

The nurse will also confirm that you have not had anything to eat or drink before the surgery, as previously instructed. The SADU nurse will help to alleviate any fears or anxieties you may have and will answer any questions. Depending on the type of surgery, patients may have an intravenous (IV) started or be given pre-operative pain medication.

You will be taken to the OR holding area to be met by your surgical team. The surgeon, nurse and anaesthesiologist will do a final recheck of your paperwork and may ask many of the same questions that the SADU nurse has asked. Once the OR is prepared, the OR nurse will take you into the OR suite, where you will be introduced to any OR members that you have not yet met.

 Operating room

You will be escorted by one of our registered nurses to your operating room. The room will have many different pieces of equipment including monitors to keep you safe and a bed. The nursing team will stay with you every step of the way as he or she helps you to the bed and provides you with a warm blanket. Monitoring equipment such as a blood pressure cuff will be used and an intravenous (IV) with warm saline will be started. You will hear the team completing safety checks including the surgical safety checklist. Your anaesthesiologist will provide you with the type of anaesthesia you need and will constantly monitor you during your surgery. Once your surgery is complete you will be transferred to the Post Anaesthetic Discharge Unit (PACU).

 Post Anaesthetic Discharge Unit

You will be greeted by a registered nurse who will stay with you and provide your care as the anaesthetic clears your system. Our experienced nursing team will monitor your incision site and bandages and will make you as comfortable as possible while monitoring you for safety. Once you have recovered, you will be transferred to either the Surgical Admission and Discharge unit or the Inpatient Surgery Unit to complete your recovery prior to going home. 

Same day discharge - ambulatory surgery

For legal reasons you must be accompanied by a responsible adult after receiving anaesthesia or sedation. If the person driving you home is not waiting at the hospital, give the nurse a phone number where they can be reached. Your ride should be available to pick you up as early as 1.5 hours after the end of your surgery.

If you take a taxi or bus home ensure there is a family member/friend to accompany you.

Family surgical waiting areas

We know waiting is hard! We are proud to offer many amenities and comfortable settings for your family while you receive your care. We offer a surgical family waiting room located in the link lobby on the second level of Building B where your surgical journey begins. The surgical family waiting room offers comfortable couch and chair seating, television, free Wi-Fi, a telephone and a quiet room for families who prefer or require some quiet time during their wait. 

Both of our inpatient surgery units offer family waiting rooms which offer comfortable seating, television, free Wi-Fi, a telephone, ice and water machine, private washroom and bright surroundings. Please make yourself comfortable as you wait for your family member to be escorted to our inpatient accommodation.

You are not required to stay in the waiting rooms while your family member is in surgery. Markham Stouffville Hospital offers many things to do while you wait for your family member in surgery. 

  • Please take advantage of our scenic grounds in our family garden or walking along the path that surrounds the hospital. 
  • We offer many seating areas on the hospital grounds for your rest and relaxation. 
  • Browse through our gift shop 
  • We offer a full service cafeteria featuring Druxy’s Deli located at the base of the spiral staircase, first floor of Building A; along with a full service Tim Horton’s located in the main lobby, second floor of Building A. 
  • We also offer a meditation room located on the second floor of building A as well as multiple vendors in the main lobby of the hospital for you to browse as you wait.  
  • Markham Stouffville Hospital is physically attached to the Cornell Community Centre in a partnership with the City of Markham. Located in the community centre is a branch of Markham Public Library where you can choose from many books, magazines, and resources.
Post discharge

We are still with you every step of your journey – even after you are discharged from the hospital. You can expect to receive a post-discharge telephone call in the days after you go home as well as any follow-up appointments in our Surgical Wellness Clinic and our surgical clinics.