If none of the above options are feasible and if retirement home level does not appear to provide adequate care, you may require a long-term care home. Long-term care homes (formerly called Nursing Homes) are licensed, regulated and funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC). Eligibility for placement in long-term care is determined by your local CCAC. Long-term care homes provide 24-hour/day supervision and/or assistance with personal care, eating, bathing, medications, and medical/nursing needs for medically stable individuals. Standard room furnishings are provided, as are linens, meals, laundry services, hygiene and medical supplies. Availability of private, semi-private or basic accommodation varies from home to home and depends on when the home was built and renovated. Long-term care homes have a dining room, lounge/common areas and activities/programs for the residents. There is a doctor available for the residents with regular on-site office hours. The government pays the “care portion” of the cost directly to the home. The “co-payment” amount is standardized across the province and set by the government (MOHLTC).(1) The resident is responsible for the co-payment which covers room and board costs. There may be an extra charge for some services (such as cable TV, telephone, hairdressing), depending on the residence.
A co-payment reduction may be available for individuals who have chosen ward/basic accommodation. If you wish to apply for a rate reduction, the CCAC will provide you with the Rate Reduction package most suitable to your circumstances. The package contains detailed instructions on the required list of documents and completion of the application, as well as phone numbers for assistance.
If both spouses are receiving OAS, an application for Involuntary Separation can be made through the Income Securities Program of Human Resources Development Canada, which would effectively give each of them the benefit of receiving pensions – including Old Age Security (OAS), Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) & Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) as if they were single individuals.
All nursing home applications are submitted to and through local Community Care Access Centres. There is no application fee. You must be over 18, have a valid Ontario Health Card and have care needs (eligibility criteria is set by the Ministry) that can be met in a long-term care home in order to be eligible for placement in one(2). Most long-term care homes have waiting lists and you may have to wait for an available bed in your chosen residence(s), depending on bed availability, length of waiting list, level of care required and other factors.
A person can apply to up to five long-term care homes at any given time. If you turn down a bed offer from one of your chosen all of your applications will be withdrawn and your application for placement will be closed for 3 months. Should your circumstances or situation within that 3 month period, you will need to contact your CCAC Case Manager for reassessment.
For those who do not require permanent accommodation in a long-term care home, short stay respite and convalescent care is available. Application for any of these programs is managed by CCAC. Short stay respite is designed to provide relief for your caregiver. The maximum length of stay is 60 days at a time, up to a total of 90 days in a calendar year.
Short stay convalescent care provides supportive and restorative services for people who are recovering from an illness or injury in hospital or in the community. The maximum length of stay is up to a total of 90 days in a calendar year.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care conducts inspections of long-term care homes and creates reports that are posted on site of the home. For detailed information (and any noted concerns by inspectors) visit the webpage entitled Public Reporting on Long-Term Care Homes at: www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/programs/ltc/26_reporting.aspx. To report any concerns about specific long-term care homes, you can call the Long-Term Care ACTION Line at (866) 434-0144.
1 .The maximum long-term care home co-payment (the amount the resident pays) rates (set by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for the province of Ontario) effective July 1, 2013 are: Basic $1,707.59/month; Semi-Private range (depends on when resident was admitted and when home was renovated or built) $1,950.93 to $2,011.76/month; Private range $2,255.09 to $2,361.55/month. Short Stay Rate is $36.34/day. Rates do change periodically and should be verified with your local CCAC.
2. If you are looking at placement for a couple who may require different levels of care, it may be best to look at residences which will accommodate both or are connected to alternate homes offering different levels of care. Even if both people are currently at the same level, you may want to explore residences that would continue to manage both of them, if one’s health declines before the others’.
Esther Goldstein, B.Sc., B.S.W., RSW