Individuals who work or live with those with dementia articulate that one of the most difficult challenges they face is managing responsive behaviours, such as aggression, wandering, physical resistance or agitation. In response to the growing number of seniors with dementia and those exhibiting responsive behaviours, the Ontario government invested in a Behavioural Supports Ontario initiative, with Local Health Integrated Network (LHIN) accountability. In December of 2012, Baycrest was identified by the Toronto Central LHIN as the lead organization for the Behavioural Supports for Seniors Program (BSSP).This included implementation of a Transitional Behavioural Support Unit, two outreach teams and an education consortium.

The two outreach teams, the Long Term Care Behavioural Support Outreach Team (LTCBSOT) and the Community Behavioural Support Outreach Team (CBSOT) are submitted as Leading Practices.

The primary role of the Long Term Care Behavioural Support Outreach Team (LTCBSOT) is to provide support to 36 long term care homes in the Toronto Central LHIN. Support includes a Registered Nurse (RN)-Personal Support Worker (PSW) dyad working with staff in long term care homes to build capacity through modeling of different approaches for care of residents exhibiting responsive behaviours. Through the RN-PSW dyad model, the LTC BSOT uses a hands on approach, based on peer to peer coaching, to enhance the capacity of the long term care home teams. Further, the PSWs play a unique role in encouraging their peers to trial new interventions and by reinforcing their existing knowledge.

The CBSOT serves seniors living in the community. The team is embedded within the Toronto Central Community Care Access Centre and works closely with primary care and community support services. Working collaboratively with the client, their informal and formal caregiver(s) and circle of care, the team works to manage challenging behaviours in the home environment.

This fresh, hands on approach to managing complex clients in their own environments has positively contributed to patient care, reduced hospital admissions and emergency departement visits, and has resulted in creative thinking and capacity building for providers working with clients with responsive behaviours.

Contact Information:

Title: Executive Director, Centres for MentalHealth,Memory and Neurotherapeutics

Contact information: fmalach@baycrest.org

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