Frequently Asked Questions

Surgery and a hospital stay can be a new and intimidating experience for many people. At the Northern Alberta Vascular Centre we believe that the more information and knowledge patients and their families have, the better their experience will be. Below are many of the questions we hear from patients and their families.

Please do not hesitate to contact us, or ask your care team for more information.

Family / Visitors

You can request TVs and phones through the Grey Nuns Gift shop. You can reach them at 780.735.7527 or go to the Gift Shop on the main floor of the Grey Nuns.

Different surgeries will take different amounts of time. You may have been given an estimated time for a surgery, but every surgery and patient is different, so it may take more or less time than the original estimate. Once the surgery is done, most patients require an hour in the recovery room, although this time may vary.

After leaving the recovery room, patients are moved to the unit that will best suit their needs. Depending on the surgery, patients will return to the Day Surgery ward, Unit 41 or the IMCU. If you are unsure, please ask at the desk of the Day Surgery unit. Generally, nursing staff need 20-30 minutes to assess the patient. Please check at the main desk of the unit. They will tell you when it is okay for you to visit your loved one.

While there are no firm visiting hours, we ask that visitors try to come between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. There is also a quiet time between 2 and 4 p.m. We ask that guests allow patients to rest during this time.

While we prefer patients go through the Pre Admission Clinic process, there are vascular issues that need to be addressed immediately. Your family member may be admitted straight to Unit 41. If this happens, the physicians who would have seen the patient in the PAC will now see them on the ward. Nursing staff will help do the pre-operative preparation on the unit.

Your family member may also be brought directly to the operating room. This means their condition is potentially life-threatening and must be dealt with immediately. In this situation, there may be little time for the surgeons and staff to explain everything to family and friends. We ask that you be patient. Following the procedure, the surgeon and/or staff will let you know the outcome.

Patients and their families can request a private room during their PAC visit. Please be aware that private rooms are given to patients who require a private room for medical reasons first. Patients may also be placed in a private room if it’s the only bed available. If your family member didn’t request a private room and is placed in one, they won’t be charged. Please note that requesting a private room during the PAC visit or on the ward afterwards does not guarantee a private room will be available.

The Intermediate Care Unit (IMCU) is a high-acuity area. This means that IMCU patients typically require close monitoring. For this reason, we ask all visitors to stop at the Unit 41 desk first.

Once cleared by the desk staff, only two visitors may see a patient at a time. Please turn off all cell phones before entering the IMCU. Children are allowed, but please keep their visits brief because the IMCU is an open unit, and young children can be disruptive to other patients.

The ICU is a very high acuity area. ICU patients often require one-on-one nursing and are closely monitored. It’s possible that a patient in the ICU may have a breathing tube and may be asleep for long periods during their stay. Visiting is allowed in the ICU, but we ask that all visitors check in at the desk before entering a patient’s room.


Our rehab team will assess you to ensure you’re physically and mentally ready return home. They will review your current living arrangements and use that information in the assessment. They may ask you and your family questions about your home, such as how many stairs you have, bathroom access and how your kitchen is set up.

Our team will assess you for equipment needs, such as bars in the bathroom and raised toilet seats. If you need this equipment and live in or around Edmonton, our occupational therapist will organize a loan through the SMART program. Please be aware that a family member or delegate will have to pick up the equipment at the Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre. The equipment is loaned at no charge, but is subject to availability.

Everyone is different and will recover differently. It’s important to consider how you were managing before your procedure. If you were not independent before your procedure, it may be unrealistic to expect to be independent afterward.

You may be eligible for Home Care to assist you at home. After surgery, you will have at least one incision; we will give you information on how to care for it before going home. If there is a dressing on the incision, we will arrange Home Care for dressing changes. In some cases, the Home Care staff will send someone to assess your dressing before you go home.

If you need help at home, we will notify your local Home Care branch when you are discharged. A Home Care staff member will assess you at home to determine what your needs are. After this assessment, it may take up to a week for the service to start.

Please be aware that Home Care can’t provide 24/7 care. Once or twice a day is the maximum that Home Care can visit your home. If Home Care can’t provide the help you need, you and your family may need to consider a private option or changing your living arrangements.

If your medication hasn’t changed during your stay at the NAVC, this will not be an issue. However, if you’ve been placed on a blood thinner (either a pill or injection), we will provide education before you go home.

In most cases your vascular surgeon will want to see you between four and six weeks after discharge. Depending on your needs, you may need to follow up with other physicians involved in your care as well. Your nurse will review all follow-up appointments with you when you are discharged. We usually recommend you see your family physician within two to three weeks of being discharged.

Your nurse will explain the signs and symptoms of infection before you are discharged. Generally, if you have a fever, increased pain, increased redness at the surgery site or drainage that is milky or greenish in colour from the surgery site, you should go to your nearest ER.

The Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital runs an amputee program. If you have had a leg amputated, you may be considered for their program. Please be aware there are conditions that you must meet before you can be considered for admission to the Glenrose. Please ask your physician or rehab team about your eligibility for the Glenrose program.

If you can’t go home due to changes after surgery, or for other reasons, there are other options. Your care team will discuss these with you if necessary.

If you live outside Edmonton, you may be transferred back to your ‘home hospital’ or the closest hospital to your home. This hospital will be responsible for continuing your care and arranging your discharge. You will be sent to your ‘home hospital’ only if you need further care. If you arranged for your own transportation to the hospital and don’t need further hospitalization, you will have to arrange your transportation home.

The Northern Alberta Vascular Centre has a team comprised of many different professions, from nursing to social work to assist you. Take a look at our Services page to learn more.

We’d like to answer any of your questions. Send us a message with your question and we’ll answer right away.