The Geriatric Assessment Behavioural Unit (GABU) is a 12-bed inpatient unit at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) that provides specialized services to meet the needs of patients with dementia and challenging behaviours. This secure unit is specifically adapted for high-risk senior patients with responsive behaviours such as agitation and aggression. The average length of stay of a patient in the GABU unit is 59 days.

We provide a safe, compassionate and caring approach using a range of psychogeriatric resources to address, diagnose, and provide treatment to seniors with complex mental health challenges.

GABU provides the following services:

  • Comprehensive assessments that identify mental health issues, clarify diagnosis and identify biological, social, or psychological factors that contribute to challenging behaviours

  • Individualized behavioural care plans developed to manage symptoms, address needs and develop management techniques that can be transferred to a home setting and reproduced by family and care providers

  • Education for patients, families and care providers

  • Discharge planning to assist patients as they transition into the community or long-term care

  • Non-pharmacaological and pharmacological interventions that reduce the severity and frequency of responsive behaviours


Our interprofessional healthcare team specializes in supporting seniors with responsive behaviours, and includes:

  • Home and Community Care Managers

  • Occupational Therapists

  • Physiotherapists

  • Physicians

  • Pharmacists

  • Registered Nurses

  • Recreational Therapists

  • Social Workers


To qualify for the GABU program at PRHC, patients must:

  • Be high-risk seniors, generally 65 years of age and older, who are medically stable and have age-related dementia

  • Have acute delirium ruled out as the cause of the behaviour

  • Previous attempts to resolve behaviours as an outpatient in consultation with Geriatric Assessment Intervention Network (GAIN) or Psychiatric Assessment Services for the Elderly (PASE) clinics (where applicable) have been unsuccessful

  • GAIN or PASE Clinics have assessed that the older adult with dementia would benefit from an inpatient assessment and have recommended application to inpatient treatment, or sending hospital has referred a patient who has been reviewed by Geriatric Care Coordinator and Geriatrician/Geriatric Psychiatrist and agreed to the admission

  • Mental Health forms are to be evaluated prior to a GABU assessment/admission

  • Capacity is established prior to GABU referral


To be referred to GABU, a referral form signed by a physician or nurse practitioner is required. Admission to the GABU may be recommended as part of the care plan generated by PASE or GAIN clinics at PRHC. Seniors may be referred from other hospital services or their primary care providers.