Behavioural Supports Ontario

Behavioural Supports Ontario

The Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) project aims to improve the lives of Ontarians with behaviours associated with complex and challenging mental health, dementia or other neurological conditions living in long-term care homes or in independent living settings. This principle-based Framework for Care is designed to mitigate the strain and improve outcomes for persons with responsive behaviours, families, health providers and the healthcare system.

Framework Principles

Person and caregiver-directed care is the overarching principle:

  • Everyone is treated with respect and accepted “as one is”
  • Person and caregiver/family/social supports are the driving partners in care decisions
  • Respect and trust characterize relationships between staff and clients and care providers

Supporting principles bring these concepts to life for those making daily decisions about care:

  1. Behaviour is communication: Behaviours are an attempt to express distress, solve problems or communicate unmet needs. They can be minimized through interventions based on understanding the person and adapting the environment or care to satisfy the individual’s needs.
  2. Diversity: Practices value the language, ethnicity, race, religion, gender, beliefs/traditions, and life experiences
  3. Collaborative Care: Accessible, comprehensive assessment/interventions include shared interdisciplinary plans of care that rely on input and direction form the client and family members
  4. Safety: A culture of safety and well-being is promoted where older adults and families live and visit and where staff work
  5. System coordination and integration: Systems are built upon existing resources and initiatives. Partners to enable access to the range of needed, integrated services and supports
  6. Accountability and Sustainability: The accountability of the system, health and social service providers and funders to each other is defined and ensured.



BSO Care Navigator (CN)

Support for the Client, Caregiver, and Staff

The role of the CN is to provide support access and navigation to BSO services and programs.  As the Initial point of contact with both formal and informal referral sources they identify the needs, and strengthen the communication and care planning linkages between care providers across the various sectors along the continuum of care.  Operating with a "no wrong door policy" they ensure that the necessary supports are received when and how they are needed.     

BSO Behavioural Support Counsellor (BSC)

We support the caregivers.

The role of a BSO support counsellor is to provide education, support, counselling and guidance to caregivers and family members who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias when there are responsive behaviours present. BSO support counsellors will help families and caregivers navigate the healthcare system to link them with appropriate community resources. Support for families is provided in a way that is most convenient for the caregiver – it may be a one-on-one home or office visit, a talk over the phone, or assistance in connecting with other individuals living with dementia in the community through support groups and educational workshops. A BSO support counsellor is able to provide intensive support to family members and caregivers by working through issues together and providing specific care strategies to help manage the responsive behaviours.


BSO Community Support Workers (CSW)

We support the client.

Works in partnership with staff and family of our community partners including day programs to support the client through direct contact with the person with Dementia.  They also work with the Behavioural Support Counsellor and Psychogeriatric Resource Consultants in supporting caregivers living in the community.  The primary role of the community support worker is to address responsive behaviours through the development of strategies to minimize responsive behaviours. CSWs provide assistance with the transitioning of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease,related dementias and or cognitive impairments from one environment to another.  For example from home into day programs and from the day program into long term care.


BSO Psychogeriatric Resource Consultant (PRC)

We support the staff.

The primary role of the PRCs work is providing education and developing staff/ organizational capacity to provide care for seniors with responsive behaviours related to complex physical, cognitive and mental health needs. The PRCs facilitate the transfer of knowledge to practice through formal and informal on-site staff development. Through a consultative model, the PRCs have built capacity throughout the system to better support the person with responsive behaviours and the caregiver. PRCs promote and work with the PIECES model and teach the PIECES program to regulated care providers and supervisors. The PRCs are also qualified as Gentle Persuasive Approach (GPA) coaches and Mental Health First Aid facilitators, delivering these programs to front-line workers, often in collaboration with other trained coaches and facilitators. PRCs collaborate with other training resources to develop and deliver customized training to meet the learning needs of individuals in long-term care and in the community.


BSO Acute Care Behavioural Consultant (ACBC)

We support the acute care sector.

The role of the ACBC is  to support hospital with clients whose responsive behaviours are the barrier to discharge from hospital. The ACBC works closely with the social workers, discharge planners, MH LHIN care coordinators and front-line staff at the hospital to manage behaviours and collaborates with community agencies to help transition clients to the most appropriate care setting.


BSO Behavioural Intervention Specialist (BIS)

We support the acute care client.

The BIS works within the hospitals with patients with responsive behaviours. The BIS will collaborate with the patient, caregivers and hospital staff to look for triggers to behaviours and develop interventions to help manage behaviours. From discussions and observation, the BIS will develop a care plan for the patient that will help support a transition to the appropriate care setting.

BIS will help support a smooth transition of the patient to the appropriate care setting by working with the staff of the receiving agency, sitting in on transition day, and then follow up as needed.


To make a referral for BSO supports, please complete a First Link referral.


Looking for more information on BSO or have questions/concerns about BSO?

Please contact First Link Coordinator 905-278-3667 ext, 314


Last Updated: 04/16/2019