Improving Care for Seniors with Responsive Behaviours

Twenty Beds Now Available at Perley Rideau

April 27, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario: A Specialized Behavioural Support Unit (unit) with 20-beds is opening at the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre (Perley Rideau) to provide care to people with dementia who are exhibiting responsive behaviours. The unit opened to accept residents on April 10, 2018.

Responsive behaviours are often a form of communication for unmet needs in older adults living with dementia, complex mental illness, substance use and/or other neurological disorders. These behaviours may include yelling, hitting, pacing, and grabbing.

The unit will provide an essential service in the region: a secure environment where these individuals receive enriched care and treatment until they can return to their places of residence. The anticipated length-of-stay is six to nine months.

Located in the Perley Rideau’s Gatineau building, the unit provides specialized care to its residents with higher staff-to-resident ratios than those in standard long-term care homes. Additionally, the unit’s personal-support workers, registered nurses and registered practical nurses have expertise in managing responsive behaviours. The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre (The Royal), as the lead agency for the Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) program in the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), provides consultation service and education, collaboratively supporting the management of responsive behaviours.

This unit fills the gap created in 2016, when the City of Ottawa closed a similar unit at the Peter D. Clark Long-Term Care Home. The new unit at the Perley Rideau was made possible through a partnership with the Champlain LHIN, BSO, and The Royal. The Champlain LHIN provides annual operational funding for the unit.

Since 2011, The Royal / BSO partnership has played an important role for long-term care homes in the Champlain region. The partnership provides the homes with geriatric-psychiatry, nursing, social work, outreach services, behavioural therapists, BSO personal support workers, physician resources, and supports admissions to the specialized unit.

The specialized unit is the latest special-designation unit for Perley Rideau; a Specialized Veterans Unit (Other Qualified Veterans) opened in 2017 under a partnership with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (Ministry) and Veterans Affairs Canada. In March, the Perley Rideau, in partnership with The Ottawa Hospital and the Champlain LHIN, opened a new unit as part of a pilot project known as SAFE (Sub-Acute care for Frail Elderly). SAFE provides care to eligible patients who no longer require hospital care, but who are not well enough to return to their residence.

Quick Facts

  • Behavioural Supports Ontario is the $40 million provincial investment, including $4,191,255 annually for the Champlain LHIN. The funding supports this specialized unit, and enables local health service providers to hire new staff – nurses, personal support workers and other health care providers – and train them in the specialized skills necessary to provide care for these patients with dignity and respect.
  • This unit at the Perley Rideau is part of the larger partner-driven, regional initiative: Behavioural Supports Ontario in Champlain. The goal of which is to build a quality-driven, sustainable behavioural support system of person/family-centred care for older adults living with or at risk of developing responsive behaviours.
  • With 450 private long-term care beds, the Perley Rideau is the largest long-term care home in the Champlain region, providing care for 250 veterans and 200 members of the public.
  • The Perley Rideau is a growing Seniors Village with 139 seniors’ independent-living apartments, a 12-bed Guest House providing respite care and 34 convalescent care beds.
  • The Royal is one of Canada’s foremost mental health care and academic health science centres. The Royal combines the delivery of specialized mental health care, advocacy, research and education to transform the lives of people with complex and treatment resistant mental illness. The Royal’s Geriatric Psychiatry Program provides inpatient and outpatient care, as well as outreach services to long-term care homes across the Champlain region.


“The addition of this unit increases Perley Rideau’s contribution to the community, and creates leadership and training opportunities for staff that will benefit all residents. The addition of the unit advances our plan to become a centre of excellence in frailty-informed care.”

- Akos Hoffer
CEO, Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre

“The Royal is proud to bring its expertise to the new Specialized Behavioural Support Unit. Responsive behaviours associated with dementia can present immense challenges for both the individuals affected and their caregivers. By providing specialized support in a safe and therapeutic environment followed by an assisted transition back to their places of residence, we can help these clients live well and with dignity.”

- George Weber
President and CEO, The Royal

“The Champlain LHIN is pleased to have partnered with The Royal, Behavioural Supports Ontario and the Perley Rideau Veterans Health Centre to bring this specialized unit to life. This unit will provide people in our region who live and cope with responsive behaviour the services they need in the most appropriate setting. It is a vital part of the system of care we are building for older adults in our region. An added benefit from this program is that these individuals will be able to return to their places of residence, and they and their caregivers will enjoy a better quality of life.”

- Chantale LeClerc
CEO, Champlain LHIN

“The Perley is prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of all residents by providing specialized care for those who need it most. Our government recognizes the increasingly complex needs of seniors and are working collaboratively with community partners to implement sustainable solutions. Innovative initiatives like the Specialized Behavioural Support Unit ensure residents receive the best care.”

- John Fraser, Parliamentary Assistant to the
Minister of Health and Long-Term Care,
and MPP, Ottawa South

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