What We Do

The 5 South Specialized Dementia Unit (SDU) is a 17-bed locked inpatient unit. The staff provide specialized assessment and treatment for behaviours associated with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias that interfere with patients' quality of life and their ability to be managed safely in long-term care, community-based care or home environments.

The interprofessional team on the unit has expertise in addressing the full range of physical, mental, emotional and social issues associated with dementia. They set rehab goals to manage responsive and reactive behaviours caused by dementia and help to minimize the difficulties experienced by caregivers.

The nurses on the SDU work collaboratively with the other members of the interprofessional team to assess and create individualized care plans for patients with advanced dementia.

About Dementia

Dementia profoundly changes individuals' lives and those of their families. Dementia causes loss of memory and mental abilities, such as judgement and reasoning. It affects a person's behaviour, mood and ability to communicate, and it can increase an individual's risk of falling. Dementia affects each person differently, and our care reflects that. We focus on superior outcomes for each and every patient.

Patient & Family Services

You can also find other services throughout UHN. Learn more about patient and family services available throughout UHN.​​​​

 Your Inpatient Stay

In the Specialized Dementia Unit, a team of health care professionals will provide care and recommend strategies to help reduce the behavioural challenges that your loved one is experiencing as a result of dementia.

Before Your Stay

Our program service coordinator will call to confirm your loved one's admission date and provide information about the inpatient stay.

We will also send an admission letter, along with other relevant details to help you prepare for your loved one's inpatient stay.

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When You Arrive

Our inpatient unit has secure doors to enter and exit. Doors are locked to ensure the well-being of patients. To enter our unit, use the phone outside the entrance and call the number displayed on the wall. You can request an access card for you to enter or exit the unit.

A nurse will meet with you and your loved one shortly after your loved one arrives. They will welcome you and:

  • Tell you about the services available at Toronto Rehab
  • Get your loved one's health card (OHIP card) number
  • Get information about any private insurance you or your loved one may have or other health benefits you or your loved one may receive
  • Get any other relevant information, such as advance directives
  • Help your loved one get settled and comfortable as quickly as possible
  • Answer any questions you may have
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What to Bring

For your stay, bring the following items. If you forget to bring anything with you or if you arrive in our inpatient unit after visiting our emergency department or transferring from another hospital, a friend or family member can bring the items after you have been admitted.

Documents and Information

  • Health card (OHIP card).
  • Information about private health insurance or other health benefits. If you or your loved one has private health insurance or receives other health benefits, this may help to cover the cost of preferred accommodation if you request for your loved one to stay in a semi-private or private room.
  • A copy of any advance directive (power of attorney or living will) your loved one may have.
  • Contact details for other health care providers who have been involved in your loved one's care to help us ensure continuity in care.
  • The names, addresses and telephone numbers of your loved one's family members, friends or other emergency contacts and family doctor.


  • A complete list of medications your loved one is currently taking, including prescription medications, non-prescription medications, vitamin or mineral supplements and herbal remedies.

Clothing and Personal Items

  • Loose, comfortable clothes to wear during the day that are easy to put on and appropriate for exercise, such as sweatshirts and sweatpants.
  • Clothes to sleep in, such as a nightgown or pyjamas and a robe.
  • Socks and comfortable shoes with non-skid rubber soles, such as running shoes. For individuals with limited movement in their arms or hands, we recommend bringing shoes with velcro straps.
  • Slippers (rubber soles and closed backs are preferred).
  • Toiletries, such as a toothbrush, tissues or lip and skin moisturizer. Please do not bring any scented products.
  • Electrical supplies such as a razor or blow dryer. Please show your nurse any electrical items you bring, as items need to be checked to make sure they can be used safely in the inpatient service.
  • Hearing aids and batteries, dentures and eyeglasses.
  • Walker, wheelchair or other mobility aids, labelled with your loved one's name and phone number.

If you forget to bring anything with you, you can bring the items after your loved one has been admitted.

You may also want to bring:

  • A cell phone and/or a phone card for local and long-distance calls.
  • Small personal items, such as books or magazines.
  • A personal device for music or entertainment, and headphones or earplugs so as not to disturb other patients. Free UHN guest wi-fi is available throughout the hospital.
  • A small amount of money for newspapers, coffee or other small purchases in the hospital.
  • Anything else that will make your loved ones stay more comfortable.

We do not take responsibility for your money or valuables. If you choose to bring them into the hospital, you are doing so at your own risk.

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During Your Stay

Your Treatment
Throughout the stay, we will complete a comprehensive assessment of your loved one's overall health and well-being (including psychiatric, medical, functional, physical and psychosocial needs) and develop a personalized treatment plan with you to meet the needs and goals outlined prior to your loved one's admission.

Monitoring Your Health
Our health care team will interact with your loved one every day. We will talk with you about how your loved one is doing and answer any questions you may have. You can speak with any member of the health care team to request information and updates.
You​​r loved one may have blood tests, x-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans or other tests performed during your stay. If we recommend that your loved one receive any of these tests, we will discuss them with you in advance, and we will meet with you afterward to discuss the results.

We encourage visits from family members, friends and other supportive visitors during your loved one's stay. You can visit in your loved one's room or in the common areas in the unit. Visits outside our unit must be approved in advance by your loved one's health care team.
Visiting hours at University Centre are from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm daily. Learn more about visiting patients at UHN »

Throughout our hospital, you and your family and other visitors can find a range of amenities to make your stay more enjoyable and comfortable. Learn more about amenities at UHN hospitals.

Eating and Drinking
You will have a chance to tell us about your loved one's food preferences and allergies when your loved one is admitted to the hospital. This information will be entered into our computer system, and meals will take into account these preferences and allergies, as well as the diet plan specified by the doctor.

If your loved one is taking any medications, we will confirm this information with you or with the long-term care centre or hospital where your loved one has been staying before your loved one is admitted in our unit. We will provide medications at the required times.
For any changes to medications, we will obtain your consent as the substitute decision-maker in advance. For each medication, you should know:

  • The name of the medication
  • Why your loved one needs it
  • How much to take
  • When to take it
  • Any side effects it may cause

If you want to know more about your loved one's medications, you can ask the pharmacist, doctor or nurse at any time.

Pain Management
Our goal is to make sure that your loved one has as little pain as possible.
For some individuals, difficult behaviours may be a way of responding to pain, and managing pain can reduce these behaviours.
Managing pain can also help:

  • Decrease the amount of stress in the body
  • Promote healing
  • Decrease complications
  • Prevent the development of chronic or long-term pain

Hand Washing
It is important to wash your hands well and often while you are in the hospital. Washing your hands will reduce the chances that you or your loved one will become sick or get an infection.
You can learn more about infection control at UHN.

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How Long Will Your Stay Be?

The length of the inpatient stay will be based on our health care team's assessment of your loved one's level of function. Individuals may stay for 60 days or less. We will discuss with you how long your loved one will be staying.

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Preparing for Your Discharge

Our goal is to assist in a successful discharge. Before your loved one's discharge, we can arrange a discharge meeting to ensure you have the opportunity to discuss next steps and any questions or concerns you may have with the health care team.

At the end of the stay, we will provide discharge recommendations, care tips and prescriptions for medications.

If you have any questions about your loved one's discharge or care needs before leaving our unit, don't be afraid to ask a member of your team. We are here to help you.

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 Materials and Resources to Help You

Resources from the Patient & Family Education Program

Visit our Health Information section to find dedicated resources to help you understand your condition. Find the information you're looking for.​

 Meet Our Team

Our patients benefit from the expertise of a wide range of skilled rehabilitation professionals who work together in an interprofessional team. Each team member contributes specialized knowledge to the care we provide.

The following professionals may provide care during your loved one's inpatient stay:

  • Physicians
  • Geriatrician
  • Geriatric Psychiatrist
  • Nurses
  • Physiotherapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physiotherapist and Occupational Therapy Assistants
  • Pharmacists
  • Dietitians
  • Recreation Therapist
  • Social Workers
  • Speech-Language Pathologist

Other team members may include: chaplains, educators, ethicists, students and volunteers.​

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