Local seniors benefiting from groundbreaking provincial project

Investment in behavioural supports leading to better care in community, hospitals and long-term care

LONDON, ON, June 21, 2012 /CNW/ - Local seniors living in the South West LHIN are starting to see changes in how care is provided in long-term care homes, hospitals and the community.  Through the Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) Project, new services, programs and training are now being introduced to provide appropriate care and support for an increasing number of seniors across Ontario and their families and caregivers, who live and cope with dementia, mental illness, challenging behaviours and/or other neurological conditions.

First announced by the province last August, BSO represents a comprehensive system redesign that has successfully broken down barriers, encouraged collaborative work, shared knowledge and fostered partnerships among local, regional and provincial agencies.  The result is a cultural transformation with a new way of thinking, acting and behaving.

In the South West LHIN health service providers worked together to develop a local action plan that has led to some very encouraging local results.

A referral to the Huron Perth Seniors Mental Health and Addiction Response Team was received from a community hospital inpatient medical unit. The reason for the referral was severe depression and it was noted that because of this and the patient's occasional difficult behaviour, "discharge and placement may be challenging."

Working in partnership with the inpatient team, the BSO team brought their dedicated expertise to the issue and met with the patient, his wife and his daughter on the medical unit to commence their assessment. The patient's physical and mental health needs were reviewed and a patient-centered care plan was developed through the collaboration of hospital staff, the family doctor, Community Care Access Centre, the psychiatrist, the seniors mental health team and the long-term care home.

BSO has allowed several local health service providers to hire new staff including nurses, personal support workers and other health care professionals.  Meanwhile, the project has also leveraged existing/complementary services and resources, galvanizing a regional approach to caring for this population in a coordinated, integrated way.  As a result, both new and existing workers have received specialized training for the skills required to provide patient-centered care to older adults who have responsive and complex behaviours.

To date, more than 300 new front-line staff have been hired across the province, over 310 long-term care homes have increased their in-house behavioural supports, and upwards of 4,000 new and existing front-line staff have received specialized training in techniques/approaches applicable to behavioural supports.


"Ontario's population is aging and so too are the numbers of seniors living with dementia and other complex health needs.  These seniors need and deserve quality patient-centered care.  I'm proud that our government's investment in Behavioural Supports Ontario has enabled dedicated health care providers to work with their LHINs to develop and implement local plans that are making a difference and leading to the right care being delivered in the right place, at the right time."

-     The Honourable Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

"The Alzheimer Society of Ontario applauds the progress BSO has made towards improved quality of life for this group of Ontarians, especially those living with dementia. We're encouraged by these early signs of success and look forward to working with the LHINs as the project continues to roll out across the province."

Gale Carey, CEO, Alzheimer Society of Ontario

"The BSO project is an excellent example of what can be achieved here in the South West LHIN. How we can serve seniors with challenging behaviours through the coordination of care that is provided by our hospitals, long-term care homes, physicians and Community Care Access Centre."

-     Michael Barrett, CEO, South West LHIN|

"The BSO project is providing a lot of assistance to seniors in the South West LHIN who need specialised care because of how they are aging.  LHIN leadership in ensuring the smooth implementation of a program where many different aspects of front-line care delivery need to be coordinated has helped it achieve many successes we can continue to build on."

-     Dr. Lisa Van Bussel, St. Joseph's Health Care, London


Quick Facts

  • In April 2012 in the South West LHIN, 198 clients were seen by the Seniors Mental Health and Addictions Mobile teams across the South West LHIN, 33 % of these people lived in a Long Term Care Home
  • Since January 2012 in the South West LHIN, 124 staff working in a variety of health care settings, received training to better support the needs of people exhibiting these behaviours
  • BSO is a $40-million investment by the Ontario government
  • 65 per cent of long‐term care home residents have dementia
  • By 2020, the number of persons with dementia in Ontario will increase by 40 per cent to 250,000
  • 34 per cent of Alternate Level of Care (ALC) bed days are occupied by people with dementia

Learn More


The number of people with cognitive impairment is growing, which places further strain on individuals and the health care system. Older people with cognitive impairments due to mental health problems, addictions, dementia, or other neurological conditions often exhibit responsive or challenging behaviours such as aggression, wandering, physical resistance and agitation. These behaviours, which occur whether the person is living at home, in acute care or in long‐term care, are a major source of distress to the individual, their family or caregivers and others providing support.

Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) supports Ontario's Action Plan for Health Care by enhancing care for Ontarians with behaviours associated with complex and challenging mental health, dementia or other neurological conditions - delivering the Right Care, when they require it - at the Right Time, and wherever they live - in the Right Place.

Central to the success of the project is creating a system that ensures people are treated with dignity and respect in an environment that supports safety for all and is based on high quality and evidence-based care and practices.

Phase 1 of the BSO project (January - October 2010) saw the development of a Framework for Care that would meet the needs of older adults with cognitive impairments and associated challenging behaviours.

The project has now transitioned from conceptualization and development to implementation and operation.

In Phase 2, currently underway, all 14 LHINs are implementing their respective Action Plans and all have started to show early signs of positive and meaningful system impacts that will change the way people living with complex and responsive behaviours across Ontario, including their families and caregivers, are cared for and supported.

BSO breaks down barriers, encourages collaborative work, shares knowledge, fosters partnerships among local, regional and provincial agencies and speaks to a new way of thinking, acting and behaving.

SOURCE South West Local Health Integration Network

For further information:

Matthew Clarke
519 672-0445, ext. 2566

Annabelle Mackey
519 672-0445, ext. 2573

Toll-free: 1 866 294-5446

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South West Local Health Integration Network

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