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July 25, 2023

Baycrest is pleased to announce a new partnership with Toronto Rehab - University Health Network (UHN) to expand its Virtual Behavioural Medicine (VBM) program. VBM is an integrated service between Baycrest’s Pamela & Paul Austin Centre for Neurology and Behavioural Support, Inpatient Behavioural Neurology Unit, and Toronto Central Behavioural Support for Seniors Program (TC-BSSP), which sees patients through virtual visits over secure video networks including the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN). VBM has now grown to include University Health Network’s Toronto Rehab, which operates an integrated inpatient Specialized Dementia Unit and specialized outreach services to be able to better support older adults with complex responsive behavioural symptoms of dementia.
“We are proud to expand Baycrest’s VBM program through this new partnership with Toronto Rehab,” says Scott Ovenden, President and CEO, Baycrest Hospital and Long-Term Care Home. “The growth of this sector-leading program showcases the collaborative relationship with our system partners and our unified goal to provide innovative solutions for more individuals living with dementia.”
“We’re excited to be able to offer this new, innovative service to patients because there is a growing need for our specialized services to support long-term care homes.  This program will allow us to use the expertise that we have developed on Toronto Rehab’s Specialized Dementia Unit to help more people and help them faster," says Dr. Andrea Iaboni, Geriatric Psychiatrist at Toronto Rehab and Senior Scientist at The Kite Research Institute.
In the fall of 2022, Baycrest received a $2.6M investment from Ontario Health Toronto Region and the Ministry of Long Term Care as part of Ontario’s Plan to Stay Open: Healthy System Stability and Recovery. The funding will allow the program to serve up to 500 patients per year in 2024, supporting the government’s plan to bring more long-term care capacity to prevent unnecessary hospitalization that compromises their quality of life. Baycrest’s VBM program is part of the new Pamela & Paul Austin Centre for Neurology and Behavioural Support and was co-created in 2019 by Dr. Morris Freedman, Medical Director of the Austin Centre, and Deb Galet, Vice President, Long-Term Care, Ambulatory Clinical Services & Chief Heritage Officer of Baycrest Hospital, as a response to growing severe responsive behaviours in individuals with dementia. 

The program helps reduce the pressure on acute care hospital beds by offering pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions to stabilize dementia-related responsive behaviours such as physical and verbal aggression and allowing patients to be transferred back to the community or to long-term care homes. The program also enables the management of many individuals with responsive behaviours while they are in long-term care or the community without uprooting them by being transferred to specialized behavioural units or sent to emergency departments. The VBM team of specialists include behavioural neurologists, geriatric psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, behavioural neurology fellows, nurse, pharmacists, social workers, administrative support staff and behaviour support clinical navigators. Together, this team provides a rapid response and works in collaboration with care teams and specialized geriatric services across acute care hospitals and long-term care homes from communities all across Ontario.

With this enhancement, Baycrest’s referral forms have been updated to reflect the partnership which increases access to care for patients.
To find out more about VBM services or send a referral, please contact:
The Behaviour Supports Toronto Coordinating Office
P: 416-785-2500, ext. 2005 or toll-free at 1-844-785-2500;
Fax: 647-788-4883
About Baycrest:
Baycrest is a global leader in geriatric residential living, healthcare, research, innovation and education, with a special focus on brain health and aging. Baycrest is home to a robust research and innovation network, including one of the world’s top research institutes in cognitive neuroscience, the Rotman Research Institute; the scientific headquarters of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging, Canada’s largest national dementia research initiative; and the Baycrest-powered Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation, a solution accelerator focused on driving innovation in the aging and brain health sector. Fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, Baycrest provides excellent care for older adults and an extensive clinical training program for the next generation of healthcare professionals. Through these initiatives, Baycrest has remained at the forefront of the fight to defeat dementia. Our organization works to create a world where every older adult enjoys a life of purpose, inspiration, and fulfillment. Founded in 1918 as the Toronto Jewish Old Folks Home, Baycrest continues to embrace the long-standing tradition of all great Jewish healthcare institutions to improve the well-being of people in their local communities and around the globe. For more information, please visit:

About University Health Network (UHN)

University Health Network consists of Toronto General and Toronto Western Hospitals, the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto Rehab, and The Michener Institute of Education at UHN. The scope of research and complexity of cases at University Health Network has made it a national and international source for discovery, education and patient care. It has the largest hospital-based research program in Canada, with major research in cardiology, transplantation, neurosciences, oncology, surgical innovation, infectious diseases, genomic medicine and rehabilitation medicine. University Health Network is a research hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto. For more information:


For media inquiries, please contact:
Orsolya Soos
Manager, Marketing
416-785-2500 x6579 

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