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Click HERE for a PDF version of the confrence program.           

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Kenneth Rockwood

The challenge of frailty in providing rehabilitation to older adults

Dr. Kenneth Rockwood

Professor of Medicine (Geriatric Medicine and Neurology) The Kathryn Allen Weldon Professor of Alzheimer Research, Dalhousie University and staff physician at the Nova Scotia Health Authority


As populations age, so too and inevitably does the number of people whose many medical and social needs define them as frail. The challenge of frailty is its complexity, which is "the burden and the glory" of caring for older adults. Nowhere is this truer than in providing rehabilitation.

Effective rehabilitation requires individualised care plans. These in turn require multidisciplinary assessments and effective interprofessional collaborative practice. Done well, each of these is deceptively easy. Done less well, the process can range from being merely inefficient to being broadly excruciating. Many teams fall somewhere away from either extreme.

This presentation will focus on exactly what it is about frailty that makes care a challenge, and which types of best practices are most likely to address that challenge. It will offer a self-diagnostic for how well your team might be doing. Patient-centredness will be promoted, both to resolve many of the issues that arise from complexity, and to focus practice and its evaluation. Several useful clinical signs relevant to a rehabilitation practice (such as the "fridge sign" on home visits, or the crucial importance of change in bed mobility in signalling acute illness) will be offered. Prior to a formal questions/comments period, audience members will be invited to offer their own such clinical pearls.  


Prince Amponsah
The Patient Perspective

Mr. Prince Amponsah 

In 2012, Prince Amponsah, an aspiring young Toronto actor, survived devastating burns in an apartment fire. As a burn survivor, the fire left him with two amputated arms and second and third degree burns to nearly 69% of his body. What followed was two weeks of a medically induced coma and over a year of rehabilitation. During that time Prince had to learn to re-adapt and discover a new way of living. Within the struggle Prince is able to re-adapt and re-function. Rehabilitation has played a key function in defining Prince's new way of life. And with his ups and downs, Prince is fortunate to share his experience. He is currently a student at Ryerson University, studying social work and on his off time enjoys participating in theatre. Prince's powerful story has been featured by a variety of media outlets, including the Toronto Star.   

Concurrent breakout sessions: Ideas, innovations, insights

Karen Truter
From Emergency to Restorative Care: How direct admission to a rehab bed improves Elderly patients' health outcomes and provides a new approach to geriatric rehabilitation and restoration

Karen Truter RN(EC), MN, CHPCN(C) 

Nurse Practitoner, Post Acute Specialty Services, Northumberland Hills Hospital


Northumberland Hills Hospital is providing "Direct Admission" to Restorative Care for vulnerable seniors who present in emergency, do not require acute care but are assessed as unsafe to return to their homes due to multiple complex needs. Through the Assess & Restore (A&R) Intervention, they receive a Comprehensive Gerontological Assessment. Led by a Nurse Practitioner, the interprofessional team focuses primarily on Geriatric Syndromes (GS), recognizing that medical co-morbidities and life experiences are intrinsically linked. Our holistic approach to care is in partnership with the patient and their family, and community partners, who are all fully involved in goal-setting and care-planning. Success has been in the intensity of assessment and identifying the core reasons for their vulnerability, optimizing their independence through intervention and providing community support to enable the senior to return to their home environment.

Learning Objectives:

  • Application of gerontology practice where such knowledge/practices did not previously exist
  • A new definition of high-risk population for increased frailty through GS data
  • Foundation work for definition of 'restorable' - need to think 'rehab' for this cohort
  • Gerontological NP-led Model of Care - system impact
  • GEM nurse - system impact - early identification of GS and admission diversion
  • A&R Model of Care provides a structure for clinical competencies - building capacity/standardization
  • Direct admission to A&R in post-acute care - State of excellence for older persons

Jill Cameron
Supporting Caregivers across the Care Continuum

Jill I. Cameron, PhD 


Family caregivers play an important role in supporting individuals with a variety of disabilities, but it is not standard clinical practice to prepare or support them in their caregiving role. As a result, many experience stress that can compromise their own health and well-being as well as the care they provide. Caregivers support individuals with disability as they transition across care environments and, as a result, their needs for support change. This workshop will highlight the important role family caregivers' play in supporting individuals with a variety of disabilities. It will present a model of care - the Timing it Right Stroke Family Support Program - that can be adapted for other illness populations. The Timing it Right model recognizes caregivers needs as the person they care for receives care and transitions from acute care, through rehabilitation, and returns to community living. It proposes one individual should be primarily responsible for overseeing caregivers' needs across the care continuum.

Learning objectives:

  • Understand the important role family caregivers play across the care continuum
  • Understand caregivers support needs and how they change across the care continuum
  • Consider a model of caregiver support and mechanisms for intervention delivery
  • Consider application of model to a broad range of illness populations 

Pearl Gryfe
The Impacts of Botulinum Toxin-A on People with Spasticity secondary to an UMN Syndrome

Pearl Gryfe M.Sc., B.Sc.OT Reg (ON) 

Clinical and Managing Director
Assistive Technology Clinic, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Baycrest Brain Health Centre


Spasticity is a common symptom in people with UMN conditions which may lead to a range of complications that in turn hampers their ability to function and often negatively impacts on their rehabilitation. For clients whose tone interferes with function, Botulinum Toxin (BTX-A) injections have become part of routine and standard practice. This workshop will review how injections of Botulinum Toxin-A impact spacticity and how multidisciplinary approaches to the management of spasticity in turn influence rehabilitation outcomes. The workshop will examine how to recognize and define the term "spasticity", look at some of the recognized tools used to assess spasticity and a few of the instruments used by various disciplines to determine the treatment goals. We will also review the common and not so common adjunctive therapies used in treating spasticity and appraise the literature and evidence surrounding those treatment options and multidisciplinary care. Finally we will review a number of case studies, assess the influence of BTX-A injections on the outcomes of our treatment programs, and discuss the options for the most effective programs to meet the needs confronting our clients. 

Learning objectives:

  • Clinical review of spasticity
  • Examine common assessment tools; recognize how to assess spasticity and how to set the goals of treatment
  • Review recognized instruments with regards to setting appropriate goals
  • Appraise and discuss adjunctive therapies and rehabilitative treatment options for spasticity management
  • Appraise the evidence with regards to multidisciplinary treatment of spasticity using BTX-A
  • Case review/discussion and identify future directions in managing spasticity for complex clients 

Vincent Lo
Early Mobility in the ICU
Translating the Rehab Approach into Acute Care

Vincent Lo, PT, BSc.PT  

Lecturer, University of Toronto
Critical Care Physiotherapist, Medical Surgical Intensive Care Unit
Toronto General Hospital, UHN


Critical Care has and will continue to evolve as ICU practitioners gain a better understanding of issues facing survivors of critical illness. "Time is Muscle". From the moment a patient enters the ICU, they will dramatically lose muscle mass and strength due to a multitute of factors. Literature and research have impressed upon us the importance of intervening early to prevent weakness and deconditioning experienced by our patients. The challenges facing health care workers today are to minimize the impact of ICU acquired weakness and to regain functional abilities as much as possible. Goals for ICU patients no longer involve merely decreasing mortality rates and ICU/hospital length of stay, but focus on physical, mental outcomes that ultimately impact on quality of life.

Learning objectives:

  • To gain a better understanding of the impact of critical illness
  • Specifically to appreciate the profound weakness and deconditioning associated with a protracted ICU stay
  • Discuss barriers to early mobility
  • See and experience first hand modern ICU rehab approaches and observe actual treatment sessions via videotapes

Edith Ng   Nathalie Brown

Not confident?  Feeling unsafe?  Empowering staff to manage behaviours in rehabilitation

Edith Ng – MSc, BSc(OT), OT Reg.(Ont.) – Affiliation:  University Health Network, University of Toronto
Nathalie Brown – RP, BA – Affiliation: University Health Network


This session will examine the processes and training implemented to guide staff in the Acquired Brain Injury Inpatient Services at Toronto Rehab, University Health Network, in managing behaviours.  These processes included intervention throughout the behaviour continuum, from prevention to escalated behaviour management to recovery.  Outcomes of the initiative and future steps will be shared.

Learning objectives:

  • Understand the behaviour management strategy selection process
  • Describe the type of process used to support staff in managing behaviours
  • Discuss the impact of the processes implemented

Joan DeBruyn   Helen Janzen Ezekiel

Implementation and Evaluation of a Community-Based Intensive Rehabilitatation Program to Transition Patients Home Earlier from “Assess and Restore” Rehabilitative Care and Build Rehabilitative Care System Capacity

Joan DeBruyn – MSc, BSc(OT), OT Reg.(Ont.) – Affiliation: Project Manager, Waterloo Wellington Community Care Access Centre 
Helen Janzen Ezekiel – HBSc (Bio), Registered PT, BHSc (PT) – Affiliation: Director of Patient Services with the Waterloo Wellington Community Care Access Centre (Post- transition Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network) and Physiotherapist. Waterloo Wellington CCAC


The Rapid Recovery Therapy Program was created to transition some facility-based rehabilitative care to an intensive rehab model in the community, while providing high quality care and increasing access to facility-based rehabilitative care. With growing demands for inpatient rehabilitative care, as well as ALC pressures in acute care, there is a need to explore innovative models of delivering rehabilitative care and maximizing the functional independence of seniors and others in our community. This innovative program will help to mitigate the growing demands for bedded levels of rehabilitative care and help to reduce ALC rates, while providing patient-centred care in a cost effective manner.

Learning objectives:

  • Identify the patient outcomes and patient experience of the Rapid Recovery Therapy Program
  • Describe the components and key success factors of the Rapid Recovery program that support an earlier transition to rehabilitative care in the community
  • Identify how the program impacts access to inpatient rehabilitative care and contributes to reduced ALC days
  • Identify the financial implications of implementing the program
  • Consider how a similar program could be implemented in your context

Rapid Podium Presentations

These popular presentations are unique, 8-minute long presentations on innovative initiatives and research from a variety of sectors and disciplines. Presenters will provide key 'take-away' messages for the audience and there will be time allotted for questions from audience members. 

Stay tuned for more information on this year's Rapid Podium Presentations. 

The People's Choice Award Competition

These awards recognize the high quality work presented at the conference and favourites as selected by delegates. The awards honour the work presented in both rapid podium presentations and poster displays. Five People's Choice Awards will be presented to:

  • The top rapid podium presentation
  • The top three posters
  • The top student poster

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