12-bed inpatient unit commended by patient’s family for providing “culture of restoration”

Earlier this year, Valmay Barkey wasn’t sure whether her husband Art’s quality of life could be improved. Art, who has Parkinson’s disease, was in “high-needs condition” in February 2019 when he was admitted to the hospital’s Geriatric Assessment Behavioural Unit (GABU) – a 12-bed inpatient unit at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) that provides specialized services to meet the needs of older adult patients with dementia and challenging behaviours.

“Thanks to the skilled care that Art received while a patient on the GABU, he has made a wonderful journey back,” says Valmay today. “He’s now able to communicate again, do activities for himself, and has so much more opportunity cognitively than he had when he was first admitted. We’re so grateful for all the staff who saw that Art had the potential to recover. GABU offers patients and their families a culture of restoration which gave us so much hope.”

The goal of the interprofessional healthcare team on GABU is to work with patients and their families to provide comprehensive assessments and create individualized care plans to manage symptoms, address needs and develop management techniques that can be transferred to the home setting and reproduced by family and other care providers.

In total, Art spent about five months on the specialized unit, and he was recently discharged from the unit. “The GABU team goes out of their way to care for you,” says Art. “Treating you with respect, meeting your needs, and supporting and encouraging you as the day goes on. They keep you going.”

“I see the profound impact that GABU has on both patients and their loved ones every day,” says Sarah Wilson, Geriatric Care Coordinator for GABU. “We often receive thank you notes from family members that speak to the kindness, empathy and patience they see on our unit, and the skills and work of our team.”

Peterborough is one of the fastest-growing communities in the country, and has the oldest population demographically in Canada, with 22 per cent of local residents in over the age of 65. Understanding and meeting the needs of older adult patients is crucial, and PRHC has developed and launched a number of key programs and initiatives over the past several years to promote excellence in care for this population.

“I am incredibly proud of the team on GABU and of the many others throughout the hospital for the work they are doing to support and care for our older adult patients,” says Brenda Weir, Vice President of Medicine and Regional Programs at PRHC. “We look forward to continuing to build programming and services within PRHC, and in collaboration with our partners in the community, to achieve our goal of becoming recognized as a Seniors’ Care Centre of Excellence.”

This fall will see the launch of new programs and partnerships including the launch of the new Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP). HELP is an innovative delirium-prevention program designed to improve the hospital experience of older patients. Run by an Elder Life Specialist and a dedicated team of volunteers, the HELP program aims to maintain the cognitive and physical function of patients throughout their hospitalization, allow patients to be discharged from the hospital as independently as possible, and prevent unplanned hospital readmissions.

Find out more about the Geratric Assessment Behavioural Unit (GABU).

Learn more about how PRHC is promoting excellence in seniors’ care.


For more information:
Kate Gennings
Communications Specialist, Media & Social Media
705-743-2121 x.2234