Carolyn Hay, Project Manager of the Redevelopment team at Michael Garron Hospital, stands on the left side of an inpatient bed in the new Thomson Centre
Carolyn Hay examines a patient bed in the Ken and Marilyn Thomson Patient Care Centre before the inpatient move on February 4, 2023.

6 steps to an inpatient move: How MGH is safely moving 200 patients to its new Ken and Marilyn Thomson Patient Care Centre on February 4

Have you ever wondered how a hospital safely moves hundreds of patients into a brand-new building?

It’s a mighty task – one that will be a team effort – but Michael Garron Hospital’s (MGH) staff, credentialed clinicians and volunteers are up to the challenge.

On February 4, 2023, MGH will move approximately 200 inpatients from some of its existing hospital units to Ontario’s newest healthcare facility – the 215-bed Ken and Marilyn Thomson Patient Care Centre (Thomson Centre).

The Thomson Centre, located on MGH’s campus on the corner of Sammon and Coxwell Avenues, is an eight-storey, state-of-the-art facility and is the centrepiece of the largest construction project in the history of the hospital.

“This building is going to revolutionize patient care,” says Carolyn Hay, Project Manager for Redevelopment at MGH.

Patients who are moving to the Thomson Centre will benefit from larger, more modern patient rooms.

These rooms are designed using best practices in clinical design and provide a safe, supportive and enhanced healing environment.

“This move is important for our patients as they are being provided a more spacious, naturally lit place to receive care,” Carolyn continues.

“Patients will be able to recover with newer technology and more space for privacy.”

Carolyn Hay, Project Manager of Redevelopment at Michael Garron Hospital, stands in a hallway on the ninth floor of the inpatient unit in the Thomson Centre
Carolyn Hay, Project Manager, Redevelopment at MGH.

Carolyn is one of the many faces behind the operations of MGH’s inpatient move.

She is responsible for coordinating all logistics related to the one-day patient move, including assigning duties to all staff.

“There are many different roles involved,” Carolyn says. “Part of my role is to ensure all of our staff members are aware of every step of the process, which helps ensure the move happens in a smooth and safe manner.”

This past fall, MGH conducted a mock move from the existing hospital campus to the Thomson Centre. Staff were able to walk through the move process by pushing team members on beds, timing how quickly the move would take, and determining which routes to take, including the use of elevators and hallways.

This “practice run” helped guarantee that the upcoming inpatient move will be as safe and efficient as possible for patients.

Below, learn about the six key steps MGH is taking to ensure a smooth move into the Thomson Centre for inpatients in February:

Step 1: The move is communicated to patients and families

Patients at MGH who will be involved in the move will be informed about it ahead of time.

For most patients, student volunteers will visit them in their rooms to share helpful materials with information about the move.

These materials, including handouts and flyers, will explain more about what patients can expect on the move day.

Step 2: Non-essential items are removed from patient rooms

All patients will be required to remove any non-essential items from their rooms at least 48 hours in advance of the move.

Plants, flowers, balloons and decorations are some examples of non-essential items that will not be allowed to accompany patients during the move.

“While we understand some of these ‘non-essential’ items may carry meaning, removing them allows us to streamline the moving process and ensure patients can settle into their new rooms more quickly,” Carolyn says.

“Caregivers and visitors are welcome to bring gifts and décor to their loved ones’ rooms in the Thomson Centre once the building is open.”

Patients will be asked to limit items to essential needs only, such as a change of clothes, toiletries or walking aides.

Interior shot of an inpatient room in the new Ken and Marilyn Thomson Patient Care Centre
Patient room in MGH's new Thomson Centre.

Step 3: Patients are assigned new rooms and beds

Twenty-four hours before the move begins, new rooms and beds will be assigned to patients.

Once bed assignments are finalized, new admissions will be temporarily paused until the move is completed. This will help ensure an efficient path of travel and staffing on move day.



Step 4: Patients are assessed to ensure they are able to move safely

On the morning of the move, patients will be assessed by MGH’s clinical teams to determine if they can move safely.

Patient safety is the hospital’s top priority during this move.

“We created an extensive checklist for staff to conduct with each patient,” Carolyn says.

“We will look at each patient’s health status, whether they require a staff aide to accompany them – such as a nurse or respiratory therapist – and whether the room allocated to them meets their needs.”

Additionally, the Infection, Prevention and Control (IPAC) team at MGH will play an essential role on move day to create a safe environment for all patients moving into the new building.

“Symptomatic patients will be moved into a designated area in the Thomson Centre to prevent the risk of further infection,” Carolyn says.

The Thomson Centre is designed with infection prevention in mind: Each inpatient room will have a private washroom and there are dozens of negative-pressure isolation rooms throughout the facility, which help curb the spread of infection.

“Our patients’ risk of becoming infected or contracting an infection is significantly decreased in the Thomson Centre,” Carolyn says.

HCR porters transport a patient in a mock move practice through a tested route in the Thomson Centre
Patients will be moved on beds with their belongings. 


In the early morning of February 4, the move begins.

In order for the move to happen as safely and efficiently as possible, the number of people on-site during the move itself must be limited. Visiting hours will be closed during the move, but visitors will be welcomed back once the move is complete.

Patients will remain on their beds with their essential belongings. Porters will move patients from their current room through the main hospital building and into the Thomson Centre using a tested and approved route.

MGH will move one patient at a time, filling spaces floor-by-floor as patients arrive.

“To ensure this move will be efficient, timely and safe, our team went through multiple tests to determine the most logical routes for our patients and staff,” Carolyn explains.

Patients will be sent off with porters quickly – approximately one patient every three minutes. Nurses will ensure their patients have been sent off safely with porters before walking over to the new building.

When patients arrive in the Thomson Centre, there will be receiving nurses waiting to help settle them into their room.

Step 6: Staff and volunteers greet patients and visiting hours reopen to family members

Once the move is complete, a team of volunteers will greet and welcome patients to the Thomson Centre and make sure they are comfortable in their new space.

Volunteers will be available on the day of the move to help families and visitors locate patients in their new rooms.  

Once patients are settled in their rooms, visiting hours will reopen to family members at 3 p.m. on February 4Volunteers will also be available after the move to support families and provide information.

Exterior shot of the new Ken and Marilyn Thomson Patient Care Centre building on the corner of Sammon Avenue and Coxwell Avenue
Inpatient care begins in the Thomson Centre on Feb. 4, 2023.

Celebrating a new era of healthcare for East Toronto

MGH is excited and proud to begin providing patient care in the Thomson Centre, which will provide a brand-new healthcare hub for the East Toronto community.

“I hope everyone embraces the move and looks at the positive effect this building will have on patients, staff and the East Toronto community,” Carolyn says.

“It’s a lot of work, but everyone is pitching in and doing the best they can. We’re embracing the challenge and enjoying what a celebration this is for our hospital.”

Was this page helpful?