Skip to Content

Behavioural Supports Transition Unit (BSTU)


Strengthened through partnerships with the South East LHIN, Providence Care, Long Term Care Home sector, the Alzheimer Society, the Lived Experience Network, and Quinte Health.

The Behavioural Supports Transition Unit (BSTU) is a 20 bed, inpatient program located at Belleville General Hospital. It specializes in enhancing the lives of older adults living with dementia or age related cognitive impairments and behavioural challenges. The BSTU works together with the patient, families and the identified care team to assess the emotional, social, environmental and physical needs of each patient; develop and implement individualized treatment and care plans to stabilize behaviours; and successfully transition the patient to the most appropriate home setting (community, retirement or long-term care).

The BSTU is committed to:

  • a person- and family-centred care approach;
  • providing quality, innovative, dedicated dementia and behavioural care;
  • contributing to the integration of behavioural support services in south eastern Ontario; and
  • providing a clinical learning environment for health care professions.

Admission criteria

The BSTU is a resource for individuals living in South Eastern Ontario who may currently be at home, in a retirement home, long-term care home or admitted in a hospital who meet all of the following criteria:

  • Age-related cognitive impairment and responsive behaviours, which could include people with Alzheimer’s Disease, vascular dementia, frontal-temporal dementia, Lewy Body disease, alcohol-related dementia, mixed dementias or unspecified dementia;
  • Behavioural health needs that currently exceed available resources such as those available through the Alzheimer’s Society, Community Care Access Centre and/or community-based Behavioural Support Services/Seniors Mental Health Services; and
  • Medical comorbidities (other health issues) that can typically be managed in a home or other community setting.

People not typically serviced by the BSTU include:

  • Those requiring initial workup and treatment of acute delirium;
  • Those with responsive behaviours NOT due to age-related cognitive impairments;
  • Those who have been stabilized in other units;
  • Those requiring dialysis may be considered on a case-by-case basis; or
  • Those experiencing psychiatric issues, such as: severe and/or frequent behaviours requiring high-intensity support, admission under the Mental Health Act, severe mental illness or those requiring on-going ECT treatments.

Referrals are made though CCAC either via the person’s CCAC Care Coordinator or by calling 310-2222.

The Care Team

The BSTU program puts the patient and family at the center of the care team. The staff of the BSTU includes nurses, personal support workers, recreation therapists, social worker, physician, consulting geriatric psychiatrist, manager and unit communications clerk. The team may also include consultants from pharmacy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech-language pathology, spiritual care and registered dietitians. Throughout the patient’s stay, the team will work with individuals and services who were involved with the patient prior to admission to gather the best possible history to inform the care plan. The BSTU will also work with the health care teams who will be providing care upon discharge to ensure the care plan can be carried out in the discharge setting and that the patient, family and receiving team is supported through the discharge process.

Program and Environment

The goals of the patient’s admission are developed jointly by the patient, their family, caregivers or referring care provider and the BSTU team. The unit offers a welcoming, safe and supportive therapeutic environment.

Visitors are welcome and encouraged to play an active role while their loved ones are staying at the BSTU. Most meals are served in a common dining room and staff provide recreation, leisure activities and programs that match the abilities, interests and needs of the patient.


Patients admitted to the BSTU will stay until the team, together with the identified partners, determine that the patient can safely function in the discharge care setting.

Planning for successful discharge will begin on admission and will continue through the patient’s admission.

The anticipated length of stay for a patient is approximately 90 days.