One of the first inpatients to make the move to the Thomson Centre receives a warm welcome from MGH staff and volunteers.
One of the first inpatients to make the move to the Thomson Centre receives a warm welcome from MGH staff and volunteers.

MGH welcomes first inpatients for care in Ken and Marilyn Thomson Patient Care Centre

The view was one of the first things Caron Carter noticed when she entered her new inpatient room in Michael Garron Hospital’s (MGH) recently opened Ken and Marilyn Thomson Patient Care Centre (Thomson Centre) on February 4. 

That morning, snow fell gently, coating roofs and treetops in East Toronto with a light dusting of flurries. 

Caron Carter, a patient at MGH, rests in her bed in her new patient room in the Ken and Marilyn Thomson Patient Care Centre
Caron Carter relaxing in her bright new room in the Thomson Centre.

It was a calming sight for Caron, who lives in the community and was now able to take in this picturesque view from the warmth and comfort of a single-occupancy room on the seventh floor of the Thomson Centre. 

“It’s nice and cheery,” Caron says of the space. “The brightness is great for lifting your mood.” 

Caron was among the first inpatients who were moved into the Thomson Centre. 

She says the move, which involved meticulous planning and collaboration across MGH’s many interdisciplinary teams, was very coordinated.  

In addition to the view, Caron says she is excited to have her own private bathroom while receiving care in the Thomson Centre. 

“I have my own walk-in shower and I can wash my hair,” Caron says. 

Caron was one of many inpatients that morning appreciating their new space. 

Interior shot of an inpatient room in the new Ken and Marilyn Thomson Patient Care Centre
A single-occupancy inpatient room in the Thomson Centre.

George Zarb arrived at MGH the morning before the move and received care in a shared room with three other patients. 

Upon moving to the Thomson Centre, he immediately felt comfortable in his quiet, spacious, single-occupancy room. 

“The treatment and care at MGH has been amazing,” George says.  

George is a dentist and as he admired the sleek, modern designs and lighting of his new room, it gave him inspiration as to how he can update his dental office to be more comfortable for his patients. 

“The lights aren't harsh on your eyes and the paint choice really contributes to the feeling of cleanliness of the space,” he says. 

Months of preparation led to successful one-day move 

On February 4, MGH moved over 200 inpatients from some of its existing hospital units to the Thomson Centre.  

Teams at MGH were involved in a multitude of tasks and duties leading up to the successful move. Staff conducted mock moves to ensure the process was efficient and comfortable for patients. 

Prior to the move, clinical teams assessed each patient to determine if they were stable and ensured they were entering a safe environment, with infection prevention measures in place. 

Parisa Alvand and her medicine team rounding on the ninth floor of the Ken and Marilyn Thomson Patient Care Centre during the morning of the inpatient move on February 4.
Members of the medicine team walk though the new Thomson Centre on the day of the move.

Staff also underwent months of extensive training to familiarize themselves with the spaces and technology in the Thomson Centre, including new automated dispensing units for medications, mobile devices and a real-time location system that minimizes the risk of patient wandering. 

“I know this building will improve both patients' health needs and staff’s productivity,” says Parisa Alvand, Manager of Medicine Health Services.  

Parisa and her staff were one of the many teams up early on Saturday morning, preparing to welcome patients to the ninth floor of the new building. 

“This is a major, but beneficial, change for both our teams and patients,” Parisa says. “I know our nurses will appreciate the technology and brand-new unit they’ll be immersed in. Patient care will improve significantly due to these modern changes.” 

Her team was in awe while moving into the space, sharing how grateful they felt to be working in the new building. 

“The Thomson Centre is a beautiful tower,” Parisa says. “I’m so excited for patients to finally receive care here.”  

“It’s amazing to see everything come to life.” 

Donn Quiambo, Registered Practical Nurse at MGH, monitoring patients' vitals in the Thomson Centre.
Donn Quiambo getting ready to monitor patients' vitals.

Amidst the busy activity on the medicine floors, Donn Quiambo, Registered Practical Nurse at MGH, was beginning to monitor patients’ vitals. 

“Although we are running around ensuring our patients and team members settle into the building, everyone is communicating with one another with such excitement,” Donn says.  

This excitement was felt by all that morning, including staff in the mental health unit. 

“The Thomson Centre is so big, I feel like we need rollerblades to get around,” says Leynee E., Registered Practical Nurse on the Adult Mental Health Inpatient Unit. 

Leynee was excited when welcoming patients, watching them adjust to their new spaces and admire the privacy of the rooms. 

“There is so much more space for patients,” Leynee says. “They have their own showers, which is wonderful – this is going to be a remarkable change for our patients and their needs.” 

Addressing healthcare needs of East Toronto 

East Toronto is one of Ontario’s most diverse communities, with more than 400,000 residents and 22 distinct neighbourhoods, including priority neighbourhoods such as Thorncliffe Park, Flemingdon Park and Taylor-Massey. 

These communities have a broad spectrum of health and social care needs, including a higher prevalence of chronic diseases, complex illnesses and mental health challenges than the general population.   

The Thomson Centre was designed to address the changing needs of this population and create access to more healthcare services closer to home.  

“I strongly believe this is going to be an incredible change for our East Toronto community and staff at MGH,” Parisa says. 

Wolf Klassen, President and CEO, Interim, of Michael Garron Hospital, welcomes Remti Virani into her new room in the Ken and Marilyn Thomson Patient Care Centre with her daughter Shirin Dhanani.
Shirin Dhanani and her mother Remti share their thoughts about the new inpatient room with Wolf Klassen, MGH President and CEO, Interim.

Remti Virani was excited to experience the brightness of the new building that morning. Even with the snow heavily falling outside, it didn’t stop the light from shining into the large windows of her new room. 

Remti moved from a double-occupancy room to a single-occupancy room in the Thomson Centre. Her daughter, Shirin Dhanani, accompanied her during the move. 

Eighty per cent of patient rooms in the new building are single-occupancy. Every patient – even those in double-occupancy rooms – has their own bathroom, allowing for greater privacy and improving infection prevention measures.   

“We are grateful for this new room,” Shirin says. “The large windows add so much natural light.” 

Shirin felt at ease, hopeful of the positive impact this new space will have on her mom’s healing. 

Revolutionizing future of patient care  

Patients who moved to Ontario’s newest healthcare facility now 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. 

The patient rooms, team stations and visitor areas are large and spacious, with plenty of room to accommodate patient care and visitors. Evidence-based design suggests that bright spaces and views can reduce blood pressure and muscle tension, which can also reduce anger, anxiety and pain.  

Each inpatient floor also has several negative pressure isolation rooms for patients who may be infectious, lowering the risk of infection and increasing safety for all patients.  

Now that all staff, patients, caregivers and physicians have moved safely into the Thomson Centre, the next phase of the hospital's transformation begins. MGH’s campus will continue to evolve until 2024 with renovations to existing areas of the hospital, decommissioning of outdated wings and new landscaping to welcome the community to the new facility.  

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