Home Care Services

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Navigating The System

How does the Ontario home care system work?

Home Care Ontario members are contracted to provide health care services by a government service called Ontario Health atHome (formerly HCCSS – Home & Community Care Support Services). Home Care Ontario members can also have contracts with hospitals, long-term care homes, individuals and families.

Publicly-funded home care in Ontario is administered by Ontario Health atHome which is responsible for assessing and determining who receives care, what type and level of care they need and for what length of time. Ontario Health atHome Care Coordinators manage each individual client’s care. Home Care Service Provider Organizations (SPOs) deliver the care that is required by the client, as determined by Ontario Health atHome.

To arrange for publicly-funded care, you can contact Ontario Health atHome or call 310-2222 (no area code required) whose staff, known as case managers or care coordinators, will determine eligibility for you or your family member. 

How do I find further home care assistance in Ontario?

Home Care Ontario members are also able to assist families or individuals who wish to arrange for family-funded services.  You can find a list of Home Care Ontario members and/or search for home care members in your community.

Respite Care

What is Respite Care?

Respite Care is the term used to describe care given to family caregivers so that they can have a temporary break from the responsibilities of providing care to a family member at home.

Family caregivers are integral to providing care in the home and increasingly, family members are being called upon to support a loved one in a time of need. While most families embrace the opportunity, the reality is that the physical, emotional and financial consequences for the family caregiver can be overwhelming without some additional support, such as respite.

Home Respite Care

Respite can be provided through facility-based care or adult day programs. However, families generally prefer in-home respite care. Care in the home means less disruption and provides stability for the client who remains in his/her familiar environment.   

Your Home & Community Care Support Services will assess your eligibility for government-funded respite services.  You may also wish to contact a home care service provider organization directly to arrange for respite care. 

Palliative Care

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is a philosophy of care that aims to relieve suffering and improve the quality of life for persons who are living with, or dying from, advanced illness.  Hospice palliative care is appropriate for any individual and/or family living with, or at risk of developing, a life-threatening illness due to any diagnosis, with any prognosis, regardless of age, and at any time they have unmet expectations and/or needs, and are prepared to accept care. 

The Goals of Palliative Care

The goal of palliative care is to provide comfort and dignity for the person living with the illness as well as his or her family. An important objective of palliative care is relief of pain and other symptoms. Additionally, palliative care addresses the psychological, social, cultural, emotional and spiritual needs of each person and family.

At Home Palliative Care

Palliative care services are offered in many places, including hospitals, long term care facilities, residential hospices and in your own home. Evidence suggests that most people would prefer to die in that familiarity of their home. A well-managed death at home is a gentle, natural experience.

Palliative care services can be arranged by Ontario Health atHome. The services will be provided by home care service providers and paid for by the government. In addition, many families choose to purchase additional care to provide support and comfort during this difficult time. Home Care Ontario members offer family-funded services and are able to assist families in determining the nature and amount of care that would be helpful.

Dementia & Alzheimer’s Care

What is Dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term for a variety of brain disorders. Symptoms include loss of memory, judgment and reasoning, and changes in mood and behaviour. Brain function is affected enough to interfere with a person’s ability to function at work, in relationships and in everyday activities. (Alzheimer Society Canada)

On average, dementia affects almost one in ten seniors over 65 years. The prevalence rate increases with age, rising to one in two seniors over 90 years of age. (The Alzheimer Society of Ontario) Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. It affects people from all backgrounds and is not a normal part of aging.

Although Alzheimer’s disease currently has no known deterrent or cure, early intervention and specific methods of care can help manage the symptoms of dementia.

Home Care for Persons Living with Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias

Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia can be a challenging and overwhelming for families. It is possible to keep someone with dementia safe at home, particularly with the support of specially trained caregivers.   Many Home Care Ontario members are experts in dementia care and family-funded care can be arranged to provide support to publicly funded care through Ontario Health atHome and/or to deliver respite care.


Resources that may be helpful include:

Family-Funded Home Care

Every year an estimated 150,000 Ontarians purchase additional home care service to supplement that which is provided through the publicly-funded system. Family-funded home care service often provides the vital few hours of care and respite that enables families to continue their caregiving responsibilities – which many are fulfilling while raising their children and holding a job.

Choose a Reputable Home Care Organization

Polls show that families are unaware or unsure of the risk inherent in directly hiring an individual to provide care. For families considering family-funded home care service, Home Care Ontario recommends that it is wise to choose reputable organizations that are able to guarantee high quality of service, respond quickly to changing care needs, and deliver fair labour practices.

Home care organizations that belong to an Association, such as Home Care Ontario, are typically concerned about practice standards and engaged in achieving excellence in all aspects of service. The majority of Home Care Ontario members are accredited which indicates the commitment, and presence of processes, to continually improve quality.  Members have measures in place, including selection, supervision, and continuing education, to protect families who have made the decision to bring additional help into the home.


Home Medical Equipment

Home Medical Equipment is a term to describe the ‘gear’ used for patients whose care is being provided at home.  It is sometimes referred to as durable medical equipment as it is intended to withstand repeated use by families at home.

Family-Funded Medical Equipment

Families may choose to acquire equipment through a medical supply company in their community.  Many communities have Equipment Loan Programs that can be accessed as well.  Local programs can be found through www.thehealthline.ca

Funding for Medical Equipment

Home medical equipment is provided by Ontario Health atHome (formerly HCCSS) through the Ontario Drug Benefits Program (ODB) while the client is receiving Ontario Health atHome approved professional services (nursing or therapy).

Ontario residents, with a valid OHIP number and a long-term disability, who have a physical disability of six months or longer are eligible to receive funding for personalized assistive devices through the Assistive Devices Program (ADP). Specific eligibility criteria apply to each type of device.   The program provides reimbursement for devices purchased from registered vendors. In most cases, the client pays a share of the cost at time of purchase and the vendor bills ADP the balance.

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