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What to Expect When You Arrive


Please allow extra travel time for heavy traffic and limited parking.

Construction of our new Emergency Department and limited parking in the area could cause significant delays. Please allow plenty of time before your appointment to get here safely and to park your vehicle.  

If it is possible and convenient, patients can be dropped off at the Women's/Adult entrance before parking the car.

If you're experiencing a delay getting to your appointment, please call your clinic to let them know.

Before you arrive

All family/support persons are asked to self-screen for illness before visiting IWK Health, please do not visit if you’re feeling unwell.  


Masking is now only required in the following care areas:

  • Emergency Department
  • Early Labour &Assessment
  • Inpatient units

Staff will continue to mask during direct care interactions where patients and families choose to wear masks.


There are three main entrances open Monday-Friday from 7 AM to 5 PM. These entrances are:

See the below map. If you are arriving after hours, you can enter through the Women’s/Adult Building entrance on University Ave., open 24/7. 

Map of buildings indicating entry points and the closed Children's Building driveway and University Ave. entrance

Getting where you need to go

Once inside, you can go directly to your clinic or area. 

To find your clinic or area, you can use the direction cards available at the Goldbloom Pavilion’s information desk or the Women’s Building entrance. 

You can also check your Clinic, Service, or Programs webpage, follow the directional signage, or ask any IWK staff for help at any time. 

Animal Visits

Spending time with animals is good for our mental health and happiness. Any dog allowed to visit must be on a leash until it reaches the patient’s room.

There are three kinds of animal visits at our hospitals and clinics: 

  • Service dog - a trained and certified dog that helps its owner with tasks such as mobility (movement), sound alerts, seizure alerts. Guide dogs for people who are blind are an example of a service dog. 
  • Therapy dog - a trained dog that visits hospitals, schools, and other places with its owner, as part of a special program
  • Personal pet - an animal kept for pleasure and company

Service dogs

Certified service dogs with their owners may enter all areas of the hospital that are open to the public. • Service dogs are identified by a collar or harness that says “Service Dog.”

In Nova Scotia, service dog ID cards give service dogs the right to access public areas. Owners may be asked for the ID card when in the hospital. In Nova Scotia, service dog ID cards are free.

For more information, please see the Nova Scotia Service Dog Act online: 

The Nova Scotia Service Dog Act requires service dogs to be trained by a school such as Assistance Dogs International or the International Guide Dog Federation. If the dog has been trained by their owner or another group, it must pass St. John Ambulance’s Service Dog evaluation.  

If you are coming to the hospital for a test such as an X-ray or radiation therapy, your service dog might not be able to come into the testing room with you. This is for the dog’s safety. If you do not have a support person with you, staff may watch your service dog while you have the test and help you while you are not with your service dog. 

If you are admitted to hospital, be sure to make plans to have a family member or friend look after your service dog. Hospital staff cannot take responsibility to care for your service dog. 

Therapy dog programs

Therapy dog programs are available in specific areas of the health centre

Therapy dogs are part of programs such as St. John Ambulance or Therapeutic Paws of Canada.

Therapy dogs are identified by a scarf, collar, ID tag, harness, or leash that shows they are part of a program.

Therapy dogs and their trainers regularly visit patients in their rooms or in a group setting in a certain room as part of an ongoing program. 

Personal pets 

Personal pet visits in acute care areas are not allowed except in special situations, such as a dying patient’s request.

Personal pets are limited to cats and dogs over 2 years old. Adult animals react better in unfamiliar places and are less likely to have bladder or bowel accidents or behave unexpectedly.

Other animals, including reptiles, birds, and guinea pigs, are not allowed.

Personal pet visits must be approved by the medical team and Infection Prevention and Control staff. 

Personal pets are not allowed in outpatient areas, including clinics, X-ray departments, and blood collection.

We understand that your pet is an important part of your life. Limited visits may be allowed with permission in special situations. Animal visits are a health concern for some patients and health care facilities were not set up for pet visitation. This is why visits are limited to special situations.

Any questions should be directed to the care team that you are visiting.

General feedback can be provided here.

What to Expect When You Arrive

Before you arrive

All family/support persons are asked to self-screen for illness before visiting IWK Health, please do not visit if you’re feeling unwell. 

If you're experiencing a delay getting to your appointment, please call your clinic to let them know.


Upon arrival, a medical mask will be available to you at the entrance. We ask that you please put on a mask and sanitize your hands before moving about the building. 

Wearing a mask is required of everyone in IWK Health public and clinical spaces. Please keep your mask on at all times except to eat, drink, or if directed by a health care provider.

Getting where you need to go

Once inside, you can go directly to your clinic or area. 

To find your clinic or area, you can also check your Clinic, Service, or Programs webpage, follow the directional signage, or ask any IWK staff for help at any time. 


IWK致力于提供适应文化特色的医护工作,即识别和尊重员工、病人、病人家庭,及所有 与健康中心打交道的人的文化和个人价值观。为此,IWK健康中心提供口译和笔译服务。


来访前,您可以致电IWK诊所或住院部,要求您语言的专业医疗口译服务。要求必须以英 语提出。口译服务事宜一经安排妥当,口译员会给您致电确认。

已经来到诊所或在住院部期间,如果您觉得用英语和IWK的医生或其他医护人员交流不方 便,请让IWK工作人员知道,您希望有说您语言的口译员的帮助。

尽管您的家人或朋友或许能够帮助您理解医生或其他医护人员的意思,IWK鼓励病人家庭 使用经培训的汉语医疗口译员的服务。口译员是接受过训练的沟通者,能确保您完整地理 解IWK医疗人员所说,也让医疗人员理解您的所说。


IWK已将一些病人手册从英文翻译成简体中文,这是为了让您和您的家人更好地理解您自 己或您的亲人正在接受的护理或治疗。敬请翻阅陈列的简体中文手册,看看有什么让您感 兴趣的事情。


当您和您的家人在IWK时, 就您家庭的文化习惯应如何得到关照方面,如有建议或要求, 请告诉我们。

要了解更多有关IWK口译和笔译服务的信息,请致电: (902) 470-8572 或 1-888-470-5888, 分机8572



خدمات الترجمة الفورية

نشكركم على زيارة الموقع الالكتروني لمركز آي دبليو كي الصحي.

يلتزم مركز آي دبليو كي بتوفير رعاية متكافئة على الصعيد الثقافي، والمقصود بذلك احترام ومراعاة القيم الثقافية والشخصية للعاملين، والمرضى وعائلاتهم، فضلاً عن كل من يتفاعل مع المركز الصحي. وفي سبيل تحقيق هذا، حرص مركز آي دبليو كي الصحي على توفير خدمات الترجمة الفورية والترجمة التحريرية.

خدمات الترجمة الفورية 

يمكنك الاتصال بالعيادة أو بوحدة المرضى الداخليين في مركز آي دبليو كي قبل الموعد المحدد لزيارتك، وطلب مترجم فوري أخصائي في المجال الصحي باللغة العربية. ينبغي تقديم هذا الطلب باللغة الانكليزية. وبعد اتخاذ الإجراءات اللازمة لتوفير خدمات المترجم الفوري، يتّصل بك المترجم لتأكيد ذلك.

عند وصولك إلى العيادة أو وحدة المرضى الداخليين، يرجى إبلاغ أي من العاملين في مركز آي دبليو كي برغبتك في الاستعانة بمترجم فوري يتقن لغتك الأم، في حال لم تشعر بالارتياح الكافي لتتحدث باللغة الانكليزية مع طبيبك المعالج أو أي مزود آخر للرعاية الصحية. 

يشجع مركز آي دبليو كي العائلات على الاستعانة بمترجم فوري خاضع للتدريب في المجال الصحي باللغة العربية وإن كان بوسع أحد أفراد العائلة أو الأصدقاء فهم ما يقوله الطبيب أو مزود الرعاية الصحية. فهؤلاء المترجمون الفوريون هم محاورون مدرّبون ترتكز مهمتهم الأساسية على ترجمة المحادثة لتتمكن من فهم كل ما يقوله لك مزود الرعاية الصحية في آي دبليو كي والعكس بالعكس. 

خدمات الترجمة التحريرية

عمد مركز آي دبليو كي إلى ترجمة عدد من الكتيبات الخاصة بالمرضى من اللغة الانكليزية إلى اللغة العربية بهدف مساعدتك ومساعدة عائلتك على فهم الرعاية أو العلاج الموفّر لك أو لأحد أحبائك بشكل أفضل. لا تتردد في مراجعة الكتيبات العربية المتوفرة في موقعنا للاطلاع على أي من المواضيع التي قد تثير اهتمامك. 

يحرص مركز آي دبليو كي على توفير الراحة لك ولأفراد عائلتك خلال زيارتك كما يسعى إلى تلبية طلباتك حيثما أمكن. 

إذا كنت ترغب في التقدم بأي اقتراحات أو طلبات حول كيفية مراعاة ثقافة عائلتك أثناء تواجدكم في مركز آي دبليو كي، فلا تتردد بإبلاغنا بذلك. 

للمزيد من المعلومات حول خدمات الترجمة الفورية والترجمة التحريرية في مركز آي دبليو كي، يرجى الاتصال على الرقم التالي:

(902) 470-8572 أو 1-888-470-5888، تحويلة 8572.


خدمات الترجمة التحريرية

Translation Services

The IWK is committed to offering a welcoming and inclusive environment where diversity is respected, embraced, and valued in all that we say or do. To ensure that all IWK patients and their families are able to communicate with their physician or health care provider, we provide a professional interpretation and translation service. 

How we help

Health interpretation services in French are provided by the IWK Bilingual Services Coordinator. Health Interpretation in other languages is also available and can be arranged when requested by the family.  

You can call the clinic or IWK inpatient unit before your visit to request a professional health interpreter. This request needs to be made in English. Once the service of an interpreter is arranged, he or she will call you to confirm.

Once in the clinic or on the unit, if you are not comfortable talking to your IWK physician or other health care provider in English please ask an IWK staff member for an interpreter who speaks your language.
A family member or friend may be able to help you understand what a doctor or other health care provider is saying, however due to the sensitive nature of the situation and sometimes complex language used, it is better to have a trained health interpreter assist as he or she will ensure that you understand everything the IWK health care provider is saying and that the health care provider understands what you are saying.

The IWK has translated a number of patient brochures to other languages: French, Arabic, and Simplified Chinese. You may ask for these documents when you visit IWK Health. 

When you visit the IWK, your health interpreter will work directly with your family and the health care provider to ensure you understand what is being said. The interpreter will be present during important conversations and will interpret line by line what the health professional is saying to you and what you are saying to the health professional. The health interpreter can also help you ask questions to the physician or health care provider to ensure you understand everything about your situation and help you make informed decisions. 

After you leave the IWK you may have more questions about what you learned while you were there. For post-care interpretation, please call the IWK to request an interpreter.

Ressources IWK disponibles en français

Bilingual Services provides invaluable support to French-speaking families visiting IWK Health, facilitates interpretation services for families who speak languages other than French and English, and coordinates the translation of patient materials to a variety of languages.

Contenu actuellement traduit en français
L’IWK a pris l’engagement d’améliorer les services en langue française que nous offrons aux familles acadiennes et francophones qui vivent dans notre région et, surtout, qui utilisent nos services.

En plus des services d’interprétation et de traduction offerts au sein du IWK, nous voulons traduire en français autant d’informations sur la santé que possible afin d’aider les patients et les familles à mieux gérer leur passage au IWK.

Veuillez noter: Les liens fournis dans ces pages ne mènent pas nécessairement à du contenu en français.


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Getting Here

IWK Health is centrally located, near Dalhousie University, just a little bit southwest of downtown Halifax.  You can easily get here by bus, taxi, car, or active transportation.

By car

Bounded by University Avenue, Robie Street, and South Street, the IWK is easy to find by car. Our multi-level public parkade is located on University Avenue for patient, family, and visitor use. See our Parking Information page for details on rates.

By taxi

Your taxi driver will need to know the specific IWK entrance to drop you off at (or pick you up at)—for example the IWK Women’s Building entrance on University, or the IWK Children’s Building entrance on South Street.
Yellow Cab - 902-420-0000
Casino Taxi - 902-429-6666 or 902-425-6666

By bike or on foot

New protected and separated bicycle lanes are being installed in central Halifax all the time (including University Avenue), and the sidewalks near IWK Health are generally wide and well maintained. There are quality bike racks near most of the IWK entrances.

By Halifax Transit

Many bus routes run near, or directly to, the IWK from all over the HRM. For more information on bus routes, schedules and fares, please visit the Halifax Transit website, or use the route-finding tool below to find your best bus route here.

5850/5980 University Avenue
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Looking for another facility? IWK Locations and Maps


There may be limited parking availability within the Parkade and immediate area. Please allow yourself extra time to ensure you are on time for appointments. If it is possible and convenient patients can be dropped at the Women's/Adult entrance before parking the car.


Our multilevel public parkade, located on University Avenue just east of the IWK, is for patient, family, and visitor use. 

Your entry ticket

When you enter the parkade you'll receive an entry ticket. Take this ticket with you when you enter the IWK, do not leave it on your dash. When your IWK visit is finished, use your entry ticket to pay for parking at either an automated pay station, or at the exit gate.

Paying for parking

Using the automated parking pay stations located in the IWK Gallery, near both entrances to the parkade, you can pay for parking with cash, debit, or credit card.

You can also pay at the exit gates in the parkade using your chip-enabled credit or debit card. Simply insert your ticket then tap your credit or debit card to pay.

Daily parking rates

First hour - $3.00
Second or third hour  - $2.00 each hour
Fourth hour  - $3.00
Each remaining hour - $2.00
Daily maximum rate: $14.00 (6:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.)

Night, weekend, and holiday parking rates

First and second hour - $2.00 each hour
Third hour - $1.00
Nightly maximum rate: $5.00 (6:00 p.m. - 6:00 a.m.)
The night rate will be automatically added if your park time extends past 6:00 p.m.

Patient weekly parking pass

Week one - $30 
Each subsequent week - $25

Family weekly parking pass

Families purchasing a weekly parking pass must do so by visiting the Protection Services Desk located on the 2nd floor inside the Women's Building Lobby. Weekly parking passes may be purchased using debit or credit only.

The hourly rates listed above are for each hour, or any part thereof.

If you have questions or comments please feel free to contact IWK Parking Coordinator, Michelle Braman at 902-470-8286.


Michelle Braman
IWK Parking Coordinator

Food & Amenities

The IWK Health hospital (University Ave.) offers a lot of convenient and useful amenities for patients, their families, and other visitors to take advantage of while here.

Places to eat

Heart & Hearth Cafe (IWK Cafeteria)

Serves a variety of salads, sandwiches, desserts and beverages, as well as hot food items. 
Located on the 2nd floor of the IWK.

Monday to Friday: 7:30 am - 6:30 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 9:15 am - 1 pm
Closed on holidays


Dial for Dining

Call 902-470-6608 from a patient phone, or 902-470-6608 from a landline or mobile device, to order Dial for Dining meals. Patients are to follow normal ordering instructions listed on the patient menu.

Available 24/7
Guests with allergies or therapeutic needs are to call between the hours of 7:00 am – 10:00 pm.


Tim Hortons

Located in the Gallery of the Richard B. Goldbloom Research and Clinical Care Pavilion, off of University Avenue.

Monday-Sunday: 6:30 am – 11:00 pm


Subway Restaurant

Located in the Gallery of the Richard B. Goldbloom Research and Clinical Care Pavilion. 

Monday-Thursday: 7:00 am – 12:00 am
Friday-Sunday: 7:00 am – 10:00 pm


Other places to eat

A number of restaurants in the local area deliver to the IWK. Please instruct deliveries to meet you outside any of the main entrance areas.



Wireless internet is available free of charge. Simply open your mobile device and select "IWKGUEST" from the list of networks then click "connect".


Information desks

The IWK has three information desks, one in the Women's Building lobby, a second in the Children's Building lobby, and the third in the middle of the Gallery of the Dr. Richard B. Goldbloom Research and Clinical Care Pavilion.


Multi-faith prayer room

The multi-faith prayer room is available to all patients, families, and visitors 24/7 and is located to the left of the Children's Building information desk, near the fish tank. Further spiritual supports are available through the Spiritual Care Team.



There is an RBC ATM located in the IWK Gallery, close to Tim Hortons and Subway.


Newman Memorial Gardens

Located just outside the Women’s Building entrance, 5980 University Avenue, the Newman Memorial Gardens provides a peaceful atmosphere for patients and their families to enjoy. Generously donated by Barbara Newman, in memory of her late husband, Norman Newman, the Gardens opened in September 1999.


Family Lounge

Family lounges are available for support persons in some areas of the health centre where patients may be experiencing longer stays. Lounges include refrigerators, ovens, dining tables, sofas, lockers, showers and more items to make the stay more comfortable. Please ask your care team upon admission for more information on how to access a family lounge.



Playrooms for children are located throughout the Children's Building units. Playrooms are managed by our Child Life team. Hours of operation may vary by unit and our COVID-19 protections at the time. Please ask your health care team about access to the play room in the area of your admission.


Gift shop

At this time, we do not have a gift shop on-site. Gifts, flowers, or non-latex balloons can be purchased off-site and brought or delivered to the Health Centre. Deliveries should be addressed to the recipient, including their room number and instructed to be dropped off at one of the information desks at any of the main entrances.



At this time, we do not have a pharmacy on-site. The nearest pharmacy to the Health Centre is Lawtons Drugs on Spring Garden Road or Shoppers Drug Mart located in the Victoria Building of the QEII Health Sciences Centre.

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Ronald McDonald Family Room

The Ronald McDonald Family Room provides an oasis of calm and support right inside the walls of a hospital, allowing families to be just steps...
Offered at 1 Location

Visiting Hours & Policies

A stay in the hospital can be stressful, and we know how much it helps to have the support of family and friends during such a time. So we make it a priority to create as inviting an environment as possible for our patients’ loved ones.


Patients need their families, so family members are welcome to visit at any time. However, it is important for all family visitors to remember that their loved ones need lots of rest every day.

Friends and other visitors

Friends and other visitors are asked to call ahead to a family member before arriving at the IWK to see when would be an appropriate time to visit. Please keep in mind that if the patient’s stay is a short one, they may prefer to see visitors at home once everyone has rested up a bit.

Please check current COVID-19 restrictions.

In order to make the IWK environment as welcoming as possible for all patients, staff, and visitors, the following policies are in place. We thank you in advance for respecting them.

Important to know

Scent-reduction policy

IWK Health is committed to providing a healthy, safe, and scent-reduced environment for patients, families, staff, volunteers, students, and visitors. It’s why we make every effort to purchase and use products that are scent free, and ask all visitors to respect our scent-free policy if possible.


IWK Health is committed to the health and well-being of women, children, youth, and families. As health care providers we have a responsibility to lead by example, therefore it’s crucial that we provide a 100% smoke-free environment for our patients, families, visitors, staff, and volunteers. Smoking is not permitted on any IWK Health property at any time. Individuals who choose to smoke (including e-cigarettes) are asked to leave IWK Health property.

Quiet time initiative

IWK Health has quiet time on the Family & Newborn Unit from 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., and we encourage visitors to respect this policy. Quiet time enhances care by providing families with a dedicated time to rest, as well as increases time for staff to teach new parents. This helps improve the overall health and wellness of families so they’re better prepared when they go home.

Taking photos and videos

You’re welcome to take pictures and videos of your family during your stay. We do ask, however, that you make sure you do not include other patients or other visitors in the background. To protect the privacy of others, no one is allowed to take pictures or record videos of other patients or visitors in the hospital without their permission. If you wish to take a picture or video of hospital staff or physicians, please ask permission first, and please respect their wishes if they decline. We may ask you to stop if it compromises privacy or patient safety.

Lost and found

Please check with Protection Services (902-470-7070) for lost items or to leave found items. The Protection Services desk is located in the Women's Building lobby, located at 5850 University Avenue.

What to bring (Giving birth)

Your Labour Kit:

  • The IWK Family Information booklet
  • Your provincial health card (e.g. NS Health Card)
  • Shampoo, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, brush, comb, Kleenex®
  • Slippers, housecoat, lip balm for Mom, warm socks
  • Extra pillows for the bed (optional)
  • Music CDs if desired (optional)

 After delivery:

  • Two nursing bras or good support bras (such as a sports bra)
  • 12 breast pads
  • 24 sanitary napkins (super absorbent are best)
  • Lots of underwear (good time to use your old ones)
  • Nightgown / pyjamas, nursing gown, comfortable casual loose clothes
  • Books, magazines (optional)
  • Special diet instructions or any food restrictions
  • Snacks for mom (optional)
  • Any medications you are taking (please give medications to your Family Newborn Nurse)
  • A watch or travel clock (none of the Family Newborn rooms have clocks)
  • Pens (for completing forms about the baby) and paper

Partner's Supply Kit (or kit for support person/labour coach):

  • Snacks, food, water or juice (you could bring a cooler)
  • Personal hygiene items and some changes of clothing
  • Pyjamas - please bring some if you are staying with Mom!

For Baby:

  • Two dozen or three dozen diapers (approximately 12-14 used per day)
  • Diaper cream (i.e. Vaseline®, Zincofax®, Penaten®) - optional
  • Two (or more) undershirts
  • Two take-home outfits (you may also wish to bring an outfit for photos)
  • One receiving blanket
  • One heavy blanket (consider outside weather)
  • One infant car seat-appropriate size for a newborn. The IWK does not rent or loan car seats. You must have one for discharge. Please make sure it meets Canadian safety standards.
  • The IWK is a Breastfeeding friendly hospital. However, if you are not planning to breast feed, please bring ready-to-feed formula.
  • Soothers are not provided.
  • Emery boards are not provided.
  • Nail clippers are not provided nor recommended

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What to bring (Children & youth)

  • A mask for you and your child
  • Your child's health card
  • Your appointment letter
  • A List of medications in addition any medications needed during your visit
  • Name and telephone number of your referring physician and/or family physician
  • Health insurance information
  • A list of questions you and/or your child may have for the physician
  • Books, games, snacks, diapers, change of baby clothes or other necessities

Being Admitted

IWK Health provides both outpatient and inpatient services. Outpatient services mean that you’ll likely be going home the same day you visit. Examples of outpatient services include x-rays, getting blood drawn, ultrasounds, and other sorts of testing. For outpatient services like this, you won’t be “admitted” to the hospital. 

On the other hand, if you’re at the IWK for inpatient services, you will need to be admitted. Inpatient services are typically more involved procedures that require you to stay overnight, over multiple nights, or even longer. Inpatient services typically include things like planned surgery, emergency surgery, and labour and delivery.

Being admitted

There are three main ways you might be admitted to the IWK as an inpatient.

Scheduled admit
If you have surgery scheduled, for example, then your admission to the IWK will be a scheduled admit. For planned/scheduled hospital admissions, you may have to attend a pre-admission assessment to make sure you are ready for treatment. You’ll receive a letter or phone call to confirm the date and time of your hospital stay, and to discuss any special instructions you need to follow before arriving.

Emergency admit
If you arrive at the emergency department, either on your own or by ambulance, because of an emergency health issue, the emergency department physician will decide whether your condition can be handled within the emergency department. If not, you’ll be admitted, and moved to a room.

Direct admit
Your family doctor can decide that you’re so ill or so in need of care—possibly that you’re labour, for example—that they will contact the hospital directly to have you admitted as an inpatient.

Having day surgery (Children & youth)

There are many operations and procedures that a child may need that can be completed in a day so that your child can go home in the evening. Your child will recover much better in the familiar surroundings and comfort of their own home.

Getting Ready At Home

Before anesthesia, eating and drinking are not allowed for specific periods of time. It’s important that you follow these directions carefully for safety reasons. If your child eats or drinks after the indicated time, the surgery may get cancelled or delayed.

Patient can have until Type of food and drink
6 hours prior to surgery/procedure Any food, including gum, hard candy, orange juice (pulp)
4 hours prior to surgery/procedure Infant formula, milk, non-clear juices 
3 hours prior to surgery/procedure Breast milk (including fortified)
1 hour prior to surgery/procedure CLEAR LIQUIDS ONLY (fluids you can see through including water, Pedialyte, Gatorade, apple juice, hot black tea, black coffee)

Prescribed medications should be given two hours prior to surgery/procedure with a clear liquid. Aspirin or Aspirin products should not be given up to one week before surgery. Acetaminophen (for example Tylenol®, Panadol®) may be given.

Please notify the surgeon if your child:

  • becomes ill before the scheduled surgery
  • has been in contact with any communicable disease (measles, mumps, chickenpox, pneumonia, etc.) within three weeks before the surgery is scheduled
  • has a cold


Day Surgery Checklist

Be prepared to bring and/or do :

  • Stay with your child until discharge (a parent or legal guardian must accompany the child)
  • Child's Nova Scotia Health Care card (or appropriate provincial health card) and IWK card if you have one
  • Appointment letter
  • Name and telephone number of your referring physician and/or family physician
  • Insurance information
  • A list of questions you and/or your child may have for the physician. Also, remember to ask for any instructions from the doctor or letters of medical necessity that you may need for school or your child's family physicians/pediatrician.
  • Arrange for a ride or make plans to take a taxi home after your child's surgery. Some people find it useful to have another adult with them to care for a sleeping child in the car, public transportation with a sleepy child is difficult
  • A container in the event your child is sick on the way home
  • Make arrangements for other children at home
  • Child's favourite toy or item (blanket, stuffed toy, ball cap, etc.)
  • Loose clothing to wear home (especially if your child is having hernia repair, circumcision, undescended testicle or arthroscopy)
  • Snacks, diapers, change of baby clothes or other necessities. Please do not bring food if your child must fast prior their appointment.
  • A list of all medications that your child has taken in the past week (including non-prescription drugs such as Tylenol® and cough medicine)
  • Be prepared to give prescription medications that need to be taken on the day of surgery as scheduled (with a sip of water, no more than two tablespoons)
  • Give aerosol masks, inhalers, and/or puffers as necessary. Bring them on the day of the operation
  • Remove all jewelry, make up and nail polish
  • Long hair should be braided or tied back with a small, plain, non-metallic hair elastic
  • Be at the IWK one hour and forty-five minutes (1hour 45 mins) before your child's operation time

Child Life Services

Health care experiences can be stressful for children and youth. These experiences may cause fear, confusion, and changes in behaviour. Children and youth need to know what is happening to them. With the help of child life staff, children and youth can master these feelings and learn to cope with their hospitalization and health care experiences through play, education, and support.

How Child Life Helps

  • Therapeutic play: ways to express feelings and concerns
  • Play and activities in the activity areas and at the bedside
  • Support childrens’ development
  • Psychosocial support for brothers and sisters
  • Age-appropriate explanations of hospital experiences
  • Preparation for stressful events at the hospital
  • Support during and after stressful events such as medical procedures
  • Psychosocial support and education for parents
  • Advocacy for the psychosocial needs of the child/youth and family

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Support & Financial Assistance

Fuel the Care

We’re very fortunate in Nova Scotia, and Canada, to have publicly-funded health care. This means that many of us will leave the hospital without a single bill to pay (aside from things MSI doesn’t cover, such as private rooms). Of course, visiting the hospital still comes with costs, especially if you’re travelling to IWK Health from farther away. Things like gas, parking, and lost wages can still make a hospital stay financially-challenging. In a case like this, Fuel the Care can help.

Fuel the Care is a program offered by Irving Oil that provides free fuel gift cards to parents who must frequently travel to provide their children with urgent medical care. To see if you qualify for assistance from Fuel the Care, contact us at 902-470-8076.

Social Work

Medical social workers are an integral part of the therapeutic team. Social workers work collaboratively within the context of interprofessional teams across all programs at IWK Health including medical and mental health services within the Halifax area, Waterville and Youth Justice sites. Social workers at the IWK are dedicated to improving the physical health, mental health and well-being of individuals and families through:

  • constructive solutions
  • effective support
  • informed advocacy
  • social justice

Spiritual Care

The IWK has a Place of Prayer and Meditation located on the main floor of the Children's building just off the University Avenue entrance lobby. This sacred space has two sections: A Muslim prayer room and a Chapel/Meditation space.

2 Clinics, Programs or Services

Ronald McDonald Family Room

The Ronald McDonald Family Room provides an oasis of calm and support right inside the walls of a hospital, allowing families to be just steps...
Offered at 1 Location

Nearby Accommodations

If you need somewhere to stay near the IWK—whether just for a night, or for a longer-term stay—there are many convenient and affordable options. 

Ronald McDonald House®
1133 Tower Road, Halifax, N.S.
Halifax’s Ronald McDonald House® serves as a “home away from home” for out-of-town families with sick children who require frequent or long stays at IWK Health. The House is located on Tower Road (a short five-minute walk from the IWK). For reservations or more information, please call 902-429-4044 or visit

The Ronald McDonald Family Room®
The Ronald McDonald Family Room® provides an oasis of calm and support, just steps away from your child when receiving medical care. Located inside IWK Health, the Family Room includes four bedrooms, a living room and television, an adult wellness room, an arts and crafts area, a kitchen/dining area, laundry facilities, and wifi zone. Get more information.

The Canadian Cancer Society's The Lodge that Gives
5826 South Street, Halifax, N.S.
The Lodge that Gives is located directly across the street from IWK Health. The Lodge that Gives serves cancer patients who live 50 miles outside of HRM city limits. Please call ahead for reservations as The Lodge that Gives is often full to capacity, 902.420.1849. More information

Hotels often offer special rates for patients and families visiting IWK Health, so remember to ask if a special rate is available when booking your stay. The following hotels are all within walking distance, or a short bus or taxi ride, of the IWK. 

Atlantica Hotel 
Cambridge Suites Hotel
The Barrington Hotel
Hotel Halifax
The Lord Nelson Hotel
Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel
Marriott Residence Inn
The Prince George Hotel
The Westin Nova Scotian Hote

Comfort Promise

We know from research and experience that one of the biggest fears for patients and families when coming to the hospital is getting needles—whether for blood draws, IV starts, or immunizations. To help make getting needles easier and less painful, we’ve adopted an evidence-based pain management program called The Comfort Promise. This promise, a collaboration with Minnesota Children's Hospital, is put simply as, We will do everything possible to prevent and treat pain.”

Evidence shows that the following four steps make needles less painful and scary for children:

  • Topical Numbing Cream 
  • Sugar water for babies (12 months or younger) or breastfeeding/skin to skin 
  • Comfort Positioning 
  • Distraction

As care providers, we’re happy that we can provide comfort before, during, and after needle procedures. 

Strong evidence of institutional commitment to pain prevention and treatment has led to the ChildKind International certification of IWK Health Centre. The IWK Centre of Pediatric Pain Research has long been recognized as being among the world’s leaders in ongoing research and advocacy. IWK Health also partnered in the development of Solutions for Kids in Pain (SKIP) and was a key player in the creation of the recently released Health Standard on Pediatric Pain which guides the appropriate provision of pain-related health care for children. Being recognized as ChildKind Certified shows an institutional commitment to reducing pain in children by showing evidence of meeting the Five Principles of ChildKind which include the following:

  • Principle 1: An institutional commitment to pain prevention, assessment, and treatment.
  • Principle 2: Ongoing education programs and awareness initiatives on pain for staff, trainees, patients and any of their caregivers.
  • Principle 3: Use of evidence-informed, developmentally appropriate processes for assessment of acute and chronic pain.
  • Principle 4: Specific evidence informed protocols for pain prevention and treatment including pharmacological, psychological, and physical methods.
  • Principle 5: Regular institutional self-monitoring within the framework of continuous quality improvement.

The organizational commitment to creating a pain culture was evident to staff and patients who can physically observe the lanyards and buttons, distraction materials, painted murals in procedural areas, and signage prominently displayed in the emergency department and patient care units. There were screensavers on computers as a further reminder to staff of Comfort Promise. Clear lines of accountability were described and it was emphasized that the relatively small size of patient care units allowed people from various disciplines to interact and help each other regarding appropriate pain care. Additional evidence of an institution’s commitment to comfort is in the presence of child life workers, who are extremely valuable in reducing a child’s fear and anxiety and enhancing the child and family’s experience. IWK has 15 child life specialists who are present in the Emergency Department, blood labs, and in the inpatient units.

These reasons have led to the recognition that IWK Health has made a significant commitment to eliminating needless suffering in children and thus is awarded as a ChildKind Certified Hospital.

Please provide us with any feedback or experiences in relation to pain management, treatment or assessment.

Insurance & Bill Paying

Private insurance

If you are a resident of a Canadian province and have provincial health care coverage, many IWK Health services are covered by your provincial health plan. However, certain procedures, supplies, or preferred accommodation are not eligible for payment by your provincial health plan—for example, semi-private and private rooms. If you have private insurance, it’s important to understand your coverage before you register. For example, some insurance plans cover only semi-private rooms, not private. 

Please present your current provincial health card—and proof of private insurance, if relevant—upon registration. If you incur uninsured expenses as part of your hospital visit, you will be required to present a credit card to pay for all amounts which are not covered by your provincial health care plan or your private insurance. If you do not hold private insurance, certain expenses must be prepaid before your visit.

Paying your bill

You have 4-5 options for paying your bill which will require you to put your medical reference number (known as your “K” number, refer to Sample (1) if you are paying patient billing; Or your invoice or account number (refer to Sample (2) if you are paying client billing. If you have trouble locating the number, please email for assistance at: or

Sample (1) – Patient Billing 

Sample (2) – Client Billing 

  • Pay your bill via online portal 
  • Pay your bill via online banking (only applicable for patients billing) If you bank with BMO, CIBC, RBC, Scotiabank, TD or Tangerine, choose the payee “IWK Health Centre” to make bill payment. We do not accept e-transfer.

  • Pay your bill by phone

Call 902-470-6829, Monday – Friday (9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) We accept Amex, Discovery Card, Mastercard, Mastercard Debit, VISA, and VISA Debit

Coming from outside Nova Scotia


Residents who have a valid provincial Health Card are automatically covered for medical services for an emergency or sudden illness within Nova Scotia. However, costs may not be covered for non-emergency medical or hospital service in Nova Scotia unless approved in advance. Your family physician will request approval for your out-of-province health service. Typically, you’ll be approved if your treatment is not available in your home province. 


For patients outside Canada, you must present proof of valid local insurance at the time of registration.  Any portion of the visit that is not covered by your local private insurance, please refer to “Paying your bill” section to see the options for settling the balance. If you do not have local private insurance, prepayment arrangements will be required. Please contact   




9:00am – 4:00pm
9:00am – 4:00pm
9:00am – 4:00pm
9:00am – 4:00pm
9:00am – 4:00pm

Safety & Privacy

Patient safety and privacy are top priorities at IWK Health. Our goal is to make sure that everyone who receives care from us is kept safe and that we continue to work to prevent unnecessary harm or injury to all patients. We also encourage you and your family to become part of the patient safety team by being fully informed and actively involved in your or your child’s care. 

A few ways you can be involved include the following:

  • Provide detailed information about your or your child’s condition.
  • Clearly understand your diagnosis and treatment plan and know what to expect.
  • Keep us informed of any changes in your or your child’s condition, good or bad, such as an allergic reaction to a drug.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions if you have doubts or concerns—feel free to Speak up! We want you to understand your or your child’s treatment.
  • Involve your loved ones—keep your loved ones informed about your plan of care.
  • Make sure you and all caregivers are clear about what medications you or your child should take
  • Keep your hands clean. It’s both the easiest and most important way to stop the transmission of infection.
  • Know what to do after you get home: Make sure you understand what is expected when at home and that you know who to call if you have further questions once you get home.
  • View our patient safety checklist--it contains tips to help keep you and your family safe during your visit. 
  • Watch our helpful safety videos about your hospital visit, and about your child’s hospital visit.

Read our document Partners in Care: Our Shared Rights and Responsibilities, which explains the rights of patients and families as well as staff and describes shared responsibilities as partners in their health care.

2SLGBTQIA+ Visitors

Pride flag on door frame. Everyone is Welcome Here.

prideHealth works to improve access to health services that are safe, coordinated, comprehensive, and culturally appropriate for people who are two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, or asexual (members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community). prideHealth is a partnership between the NSH and IWK Health.

The prideHealth navigator works with individuals and groups to help members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community connect with services within the health system (such as sexually transmitted and blood borne infections), testing, and services related to gender transition, and resources in the community such as peer supports, social groups, and advocacy. 

prideHealth provides the following services:

  • Navigation through the health system
  • Workshops and learning opportunities on 2SLGBTQIA+ health
  • 2SLGBTQIA+ cultural competency training for health professionals and family practices
  • General health and wellness information
  • Sexual health information
  • Referrals for addictions, mental health, and other health services
  • Information and referrals for trans and gender affirming care

Gender-neutral bathrooms are available throughout the facility. Look out for these marked bathrooms with gender-neutral signage. 

Gender neutral bathroom signage


1 Clinics, Programs or Services


This program or clinic is not administered by the IWK. Program information may be incorrect and/or out of date.
Confirm details with the program or clinic provider.
prideHealth helps people who are two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual (members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community) by improving their access to safe, coordinated...

Ethics and Decision Making

Sometimes, deciding on the right thing to do can be difficult. This is where ethics is useful. Ethics is a word describing the morals that govern a person’s behaviour. It’s all about the ways we do, and should, treat each other. Deciding the “right” or “best” thing to do involves both thinking of our values, and the relevant facts and evidence. While there may not always be one right choice, there will be better choices than others. The “best” choice—the one that does the most good, or the least harm—is usually accepted as the most ethical choice.

How the IWK makes ethical decisions

One of our goals at the IWK is to continue to build a culture of ethics. That means a culture that fosters and supports ethics in everyday practice. We’re building a future of strong ethical decision-making through education, collaboration, and consultation. Our Ethics Committee helps support good decision-making through ethics education, policy development, and organizational ethics (a consultation process encourages the application of an ethics “lens” to decisions made at all levels of the IWK). We’re also supporting our efforts with a Clinical Ethics Consultation (a subcommittee of the Ethics Committee), a research ethics board, and collaborations with other relevant organizations.

Helping you make ethical decisions

The IWK Ethics Tool has questions to help patients and families think about what is important to them, which can help them make ethical decisions. Within the tool are suggestions about who to talk with and useful ethics resources. The Ethics Tool can help patients and families feel better about the decisions they have to make or the situation they’re in. It can also help individuals feel like they’ve done everything they can to make the situation better for themselves or their family.

Terms you May Hear

During your visit to the IWK, there are a lot of people, terms, and acronyms you might hear that you don’t understand. To help, we’ve put together the following lists—these are the professionals and the terms that you might come across.

The people you may meet

We’d like to introduce some of the members of your, or your child’s, health care team who you may meet during your stay. All staff at IWK Health wear identification tags to help you identify them.

Attending physician
A member of the Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine, this is the doctor in charge of your, or your child’s care.

Fully-qualified medical doctors who have received their medical degree and are pursuing advanced postgraduate training. They are physicians, not medical students. They may care for you without supervision in areas where they are qualified.

Medical Fellows
Qualified consultant medical doctors who are pursuing additional medical education in a sub-speciality field.

Nursing staff 
They are assigned to you or your child/youth 24 hours a day, and provide the most immediate care to you or your child. Nurses coordinate much of the activity of the health care team, as well as provide individual support for you and your family. Nursing staff are available to help answer any questions you have regarding your, or your child’s/youth’s, care.

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
A registered nurse with advanced education in nursing and an excellent source of information and support for parents. Clinical Nurse Specialists are available for consultation in many of the specialty care teams.

Nurse Practitioner (NP) 
Has advanced nursing and medical education in the care of women and critically ill newborns. They help provide specialized care to these groups.

Medical students/clerks 
People in their final two years of medical school. They do not make independent decisions about treatment, but are in the IWK as part of their medical education.

Ward clerk 
The person who usually greets visitors and answers the telephone during the day on the nursing unit. They will see that your questions or requests are given the appropriate attention.

Ward Aides
Maintain the supplies and equipment that patients use while staying in the IWK.

Housekeeping staff 
Ensure the units and areas are kept clean.

You may also meet other important members of your or your child’s health care team, such as the people listed below.

  • Bilingual Interpreters
  • Child Life Specialists and Child Life Workers
  • Cultural Health Interpreters
  • Clinical Dietitians-Nutritionists
  • Educators / Professional Development Coordinators
  • Mental Health Workers
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Out-of-Province Liaison Nurses
  • Spiritual Care Workers
  • Pharmacists
  • Psychologists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Researchers
  • Respiratory Therapists
  • Social Workers
  • Speech Therapists
  • Teachers
  • Technologists (X-ray, Lab, Hearing and Speech etc.)
  • Volunteers

The terms you may hear

A requirement for all Canadian health organizations, it involves a visit by a team of surveyors from across Canada who meet with specific IWK interdisciplinary care teams. These interdisciplinary care teams complete an in-depth evaluation of the care and service they provide and identify opportunities for additional improvement. Certificates of Accreditation are awarded by the Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation (CCHFA) to deserving health facilities. IWK Health is an accredited organization.

A person or group of people who actively support or argue for a cause, policy, etc. on behalf of those who need assistance.

A woman experienced in childbirth, who provides physical, emotional, practical, and informational support to a mother before, during, and after childbirth.

Mother-baby nursing
The health care team that cares for the mother and baby together throughout their stay in the IWK.

Continuum of care
Health services can be considered to form a continuum, ranging from health promotion and illness prevention activities, to sophisticated, specialized acute care.

Family-centred care
A way of caring for patients that recognizes and respects the essential role of family in their lives. Family-centred care strives to support families in their care-giving role and promotes a partnership of mutual respect and support among families and staff.

Health care
Those services provided to individuals or communities through health organizations or professions. The aim of health care is to enhance, maintain, restore, and monitor health. 

Health care team
A team made up of staff, physicians, other health care professionals, partners, and volunteers, as appropriate, who together are responsible to put in place and review a care plan that meets the needs of patients and families.

Health promotion
The process that enables people to increase control over, and to improve their health. Health is seen as a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. The fundamental conditions and resources for health are peace, shelter, education, food, income, a stable ecosystem, sustainable resources, social justice, and equity.

As a learning organization the IWK is committed to providing today's and tomorrow's health professionals with advanced knowledge about health, illness and disease, and to creating an environment characterized by a spirit of inquiry, innovation, collaboration, and continuous learning.

The IWK partners with students in a variety of health care programs at universities throughout the Maritimes and health professionals working in partner agencies. Learners are a very important part of the health care team. As a teaching centre, the IWK is committed to providing learners with the valuable, practical experience they need to pursue their careers as health care providers. The IWK also recognizes all staff and volunteers as learners, whether through orientation to a new role, introduction to new technologies, or the introduction of new work processes.

Primary care
Care to which users have direct access. It can include diagnosis and treatment, referral to secondary health care level, prevention care, and heath promotion and education. Primary health care could be visiting your family doctor or nurse practitioner, talking to a dietician or a pharmacist, or calling a toll-free health advice line to talk to a health professional.

Program-based care
A way of providing care that puts patients and families first by creating interdisciplinary care teams whose members work together to coordinate the care of families.

Secondary care
Care for which patients do not have direct access and for which they must be referred from some other part of the health system.

Tertiary care
A form of care that is highly specialized or complex.

If you refer to someone's well-being, you’re referring to whether they are healthy, happy, and living a life that is enjoyable.

The acronyms you may encounter

IWK = Izaak Walton Killam
CCG = Children's Cancer Group 
CHIRPP = Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program 
CNS = Clinical Nurse Specialist 
CIU = Clinical Investigation Unit 
CSPD = Central Sterile Processing Department 
DI = Diagnostic Imaging 
ECG = Electrocardiography 
EEG = Electroencephalography 
EMG = Electromyography 
ENT = Ear, Nose, & Throat 
ERG = Electrodiagnosis 
FATC = Fetal Assessment and Treatment Centre 
FCCC = Family-Centred Care, Family-Centred Care Council, Family-Centred Care Coordinator 
HR = Human Resources 
IT = Information Technology 
IVF = InVitro Fertilization 
MAC = Medical Advisory Committee 
NICU = Neonatal Intensive Care Unit 
6 NORTH Patient Care Team = Nephrology, Oncology, Research, Transplant, Hematology 
PAT = Clinic Pediatric Assessment Treatment Clinic 
PDC = Professional Development Consultant 
PICU = Pediatric Intensive Care Unit 
PMU = Pediatric Medical Unit 
PNC = Perinatal Clinic 
PR = Public Relations 
RCP = Reproductive Care Program 
RN = Registered Nurse 
RRU = Respiratory Rehabilitation Unit 
UPA = University Pediatric Association 

Patient Experience & Feedback


Partners in Care

Read our document Partners in Care: Our Shared Rights and Responsibilities, which explains the rights of patients and families as well as staff and describes shared responsibilities as partners in their health care.


If you have feedback, thoughts, suggestions, concerns, or compliments you’d like to pass on to the IWK, we’d love to hear them. After all, constructive feedback is one way we can continue to improve the care we offer. We make an effort to reply to all feedback within three business days.

Please leave feedback by calling or emailing using the below information. 

1-855-495-2273 (IWK CARE)  toll-free

902-470-7435 local call within Halifax