Dr. Andrea Iaboni is a geriatric psychiatrist and clinical researcher based at UHN's KITE Research Institute and Medical Lead of Toronto Rehab's Specialized Dementia Unit. (Photo: KITE Research Institute)

It's hard being in lockdown.

Having endured them multiple times since March 2020, it's something pretty much everyone can agree on. Being separated from family and friends, being restricted in our movement and experiencing complete isolation can prompt a wide range of emotions and physical reactions.

For people living with dementia and their caregivers, lockdown is even harder.

There's no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic was catastrophic for long-term care (LTCs). Between March 1, 2020 and February 15, 2021, more than 2,500 LTCs in Canada experienced a COVID-19 outbreak resulting in the deaths of over 14,000 residents and close to 30 staff, according to The Dementia Strategy for Canada 2021 Annual Report.

The majority of those LTC residents are living with dementia. This brutal reality, especially in the early days of the pandemic, underscored the need for some type of tool to help LTC residents and staff.

Dr. Andrea Iaboni, a geriatric psychiatrist and clinical researcher based at UHN's KITE Research Institute and Medical Lead of Toronto Rehab's Specialized Dementia Unit, quickly put a plan into action to develop a Dementia Isolation Toolkit (DIT).

Dr. Iaboni and a diverse team of KITE resources and external partners got to work quickly on the first DIT as the pandemic was declared.



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