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The Sisters' Mission at "St. John's Rehab"

Personal dignity approach at St John's RehabPioneers in health care since 1885, the Sisterhood founded St. John’s Rehab Hospital in 1936 as Ontario’s first hospital focusing on rehabilitation care. Since the amalgamation in 2012 with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, the Sisters continue to be actively involved at St. John’s rehab, supporting a multi-faith, multi-cultural approach to health care that emphasizes the dignity of individual patients.

The Sisters' Mission
at "St. John's Rehab"

The Sisters promote a multi-faith, multi-cultural approach to health care that emphasizes the dignity of individual patients.

As a praying community in the midst of the active work of the Hospital, we advocate for a vision of health care which expresses the Sisters’ mission and values in a multi-faith, multi-cultural setting, and we provide spiritual and pastoral support for all who desire it.

Personal dignity approach at St John's RehabThe Sisters, the Chaplain, and many volunteers associated with the Sisters are the Spiritual Care team at St. John’s Rehab. The Sisters are the spiritual are providers, visiting patients and giving listening and caring support. They are members of the multi-disciplinary team on each inpatient floor.

The chapel at St. John’s is always open for all patients, staff, visitors and volunteers. There are regular services offered in the Chapel each week – an ecumenical Morning Prayer service on Sundays, and an Anglican Eucharist on Wednesday afternoons. Roman Catholic communion is offered weekly, and visitors from other faith traditions come regularly as well.

St John's Rehab spiritual care team 2016
St John's Rehab Spiritual Care Team - December 2016

St John's Rehab: Mission and Vision

St. John’s site of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre continues the proud tradition of the founding Sisters, with a holistic approach to treating body, mind, and spirit, focussed on::

  • A community of support built on trust, mutual respect, integrity, teamwork and partnerships
  • Compassionate care centred on empathy and responsiveness
  • Personal dignity approach at St John's RehabPersonal and corporate accountability for all our actions
  • A spirit of learning that contributes new knowledge and skills to continuously improve practice and service
  • Communication that is interactive, informative, open, honest and respectful

St. John’s Rehab is Ontario’s only hospital solely dedicated to specialized rehabilitation. Home to Canada’s only organ transplant rehab program, and the only burn rehab program in Ontario, St. John’s develops individually customized care for people with complex life-changing illnesses and injuries, such as amputations, cancer, cardiovascular surgery, orthopaedic conditions, strokes, neurological conditions, traumatic injuries and other complex medical conditions and procedures.

St. John’s Rehab is moving to the forefront of specialized rehabilitation with innovative research, learning and teaching. With a unique focus on the whole person – body, mind, and spirit – St. John’s Rehab is rebuilding people’s lives.

The History of St John's Rehab

In 1933, the Sisterhood began to pioneer in the field of convalescent care, a field not then recognized as a necessary health service by the government. With the help of a Board of Directors, nd the support of the general hospitals in Toronto, convalescent care was recognized and became a funded part of the hospital and health care system. Twenty-five acres of barren land on Cummer Avenue was chosen and construction started on St. John’s Convalescent Hospital.

Personal dignity approach at St John's RehabThe original Sisters – Beatrice, Emily, Angela and Vera – also began to lay out plans for gardens. Sr. Emily, with the help of George Lockyer, the original gardener, planted 7,000 trees along the property, as well as shrubs, and the rose garden to the south of the hospital.

In 1937, Governor General, Lord Tweedsmuir, opened the 64 bed hospital.

By 1950, St. John’s was a regional provider, and a great deal of building occurred in the first few years of the decade. In 1951 a one-story wing was built (the Goodwin Gibson Wing) on the east side of the hospital, and the original building named the Scadding Wing. In 1953 a residence was built for Sisters and staff (who formerly had living quarters on the third floor of the Scadding wing, freeing up space for in-patient beds). These two projects increased the number of beds from 64 to approximately 160. Also in 1953 a chapel was built, consecrated by the Lord Archbishop of Toronto, which has continued to provide a sacred place not only for the Sisters but for patients, staff and volunteers of all faiths.

During the 1950s rehabilitation medicine continued to develop, with more emphasis on outpatient therapy, and so in 1961 another wing was added to the hospital (later named the Beatty Wing) with state-of-the art gyms and two therapeutic pools.

Personal dignity approach at St John's RehabIn 1975 the Gibson Wing was torn down and turned into a garden area, and the new Agnew Wing opened with 148 beds, bringing the total number of patient beds to 210. In 2010 the Gibson gardens (following to footprint of the old Gibson Wing) became the site of the beautiful John C. and Sally Horsfall Eaton Centre for Ambulatory Care, which provided up-to-date facilities and more space for outpatient theraphy and more therapy gardens.

Today the Scadding Wing is used primarily for administration, and a larger percentage of the hospital used for outpatient (ambulatory) therapy. With 160 in-patient beds (approximately the same number as in the mid-1950s) and state-of-the art ambulatory facilities, St. John’s develops individually customized care for people with complex life-changing illnesses and injuries. In 2012 St. John’s Rehab Hospital and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre became a single health care provider from acute care to recovery.

SJRSt. John’s site of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre continues to reflect the care and vision of the founding Sisters, and their mission and values, providing a holistic approach to treating body, mind, and spirit.

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