Advancing specialized dementia care

News Archive
Across the province, 9 out of every 10 long-term care residents exhibit some form of cognitive impairment, and of those, over 40% exhibit aggressive behaviours stemming from their condition.

These challenging behavioural symptoms, referred to as 'responsive behaviours', are often an effort to communicate something, like pain, when the changes in their brain no longer allow them to effectively express themselves with words. These behaviours inhibit their care (including basic hygiene) and the overall quality of life for the patient and those they live with.

With an emphasis on collaborative care, staff in Toronto Rehab’s Specialized Dementia Unit (SDU) offers a “person-centred” approach to care to those with advanced dementia. Our staff aims to manage these problematic behaviours by finding triggers and seeking to promote positive and meaningful interactions that will help their patients be successful in long-term care.

To significantly impact the wellness of our patients, the people providing their care, and visiting family, Toronto Rehab is now planning to redevelop our Specialized Dementia Unit to incorporate dementia-friendly design elements.

The objectives of this Innovation in Dementia Redesign are to:

  • Improve quality of care/quality of life: determining optimal environment, facilities and technology to minimize the responsive behaviours that inhibit care
  • Integrate Toronto Rehab’s world-leading iDAPT Rehabilitation Research Centre and technological advances into our Geriatric Psychiatry program by creating a ‘living lab’: pioneering a new model of care and advancing adaptive technologies in dementia care
  • Broadly disseminate new knowledge: transferring learnings about optimal environment/facilities/technology and blueprints for a new model of care to long-term care centres everywhere
Read more about the SDU at 

Every day, Toronto Rehab is committed to ensuring the best outcomes for patients facing the most challenging times in their lives, providing individuals with the strategies needed to recover lost abilities, increase strength and live the best life possible. Your support of Toronto Rehab’s Innovation in Dementia Redesign will help advance care and improve wellbeing for those most severely affected by dementia. For more information about supporting this initiative, please contact Arlene Boyce at 416-597-3422 ext. 3545 or

In photo (UHN): Some members of the Specialized Dementia Unit Team, which is celebrating 30 years of exceptional patient care.