Home Care

HHome care, either private or government-funded, can greatly improve quality of life for both the person requiring care as well as for their family and friend caregiver(s). Since the majority of care provided at home is given by unpaid family and friend caregivers, making the decision to investigate home care options is one way to avoid a future crisis.

Research shows, and our experience with caregiver-clients has taught us, that there can be negative consequences for caregivers when they do not reach out for support and services. So, taking this step to look into home care is a good one for all concerned.

Home Care services may include home support (meal preparation, light housekeeping or personal care), nursing care (dressing changes, IV care, medications, etc.), and respite care to give the caregiver a break. Palliative home care services are also available in various regions. These services can be accessed through Continuing Care or through private care providers.

Publicly Funded Home Care

Subsidized services are based on health needs and income level. All home care providers accessed through government-funded programs are licensed, regulated, and approved by the Department of Health and Wellness.

To inquire about government-funded home care, contact Continuing Care by calling their intake line at 1.800.225.7225.  When you call, be prepared to leave a message with your name, contact number, and a brief explanation of your needs. Your call will be returned by an Intake Coordinator who will ask some relevant questions about your situation and may assign a Care Coordinator to your case.

The Care Coordinator will then contact you to arrange a time to come out to complete a thorough assessment where it will be determined what programs, services, and benefits you or your care recipient qualify for. They will design an individual care plan that will include the number of hours of services you have been approved for, as well as a breakdown of costs which will be based on your income. To find out more about what happens when you call Continuing Care, click here.

The following fact sheets describe in more detail what home care and other programs include, and how to access them through Continuing Care.

It is a good idea to prepare for this assessment ahead of time by making yourself aware of all the potential programs, services, and benefits that Continuing Care has to offer--that way you know what to inquire about. For example, both the Caregiver Benefit and the Supportive Care Program may assist with the financial aspects of caregiving and may help you keep your loved one home as long as possible. You can ask about your eligibility when you contact Continuing Care for an assessment.  For information on other provincial and federal programs, please visit our Resources page or call us.

Private Home Care

Private home care can be another option for families when care is needed or to supplement the care being provided by Continuing Care.  It is recommended to connect with several home care providers in order to get a good picture of the different services and associated costs.  You can arrange for private home care by calling the providers you have selected and ask to have an assessment for home care services. You will be assigned a case manager who will come to your home to complete an official assessment. The assessment will include recommendations for an individual care plan, an outline of available services, the applicable costs, and time to answer any questions you may have.

When hiring your own private home care providers it is important that you know the right questions to ask. You want to make sure that this will be the right fit for both you and your loved one. Review this list of 20 Questions to Ask Potential Home Care Providers before your appointment, and keep it to hand. It may help you make the right decision about who you will hire to provide this very important service.

You may find it useful to browse the Home Care and Other Providers section of our website, which is broken down by region. You'll find private home care providers as well as other services that may be of interest to you.

Caregiver Tips

If you are wondering whether it is time for Home Care, it probably is time for some kind of services or increase in services.  Of course, we would all like to be there whenever we are needed by our loved one, but that may not be realistic.  

Now is the time to be clear on what you can and cannot contribute to your loved one’s care.  For example, if you have a full-time job and your loved one expects that you will be there to provide meals each day, they may need to compromise on their expectations.  That is a reasonable request for you to make. It may be helpful to work through our Where to Begin guide to determine what activities or tasks can be accomplished by your loved one, by you, and what may be given over to a paid care provider.  

If it is decided that Home Care is needed you may want to consider introducing services slowly so your loved one can get used to having someone new in the house.  You can talk about the benefits (for everyone) and what aspects of it make your loved one uncomfortable or anxious.  If they are resistant, have a talk about why that may be so.  Try to see it from their perspective … What if someone was telling you that YOU needed home care? How would you like this discussion to be handled so that you feel respected and heard? What can you do to make your loved one feel secure and involved in the process?

It is important to be honest with yourself about what your challenges are.  When the case manager or Care Coordinator arrives don’t be surprised to find that your loved one may overstate their abilities. If your loved one is not presenting an accurate account of what they can or cannot do, if they have some cognitive impairment that affects their self-awareness, that’s okay.  It would embarrass them and diminish their dignity to call them out in front of a stranger.  Perhaps you could walk the Care Coordinator or assessor to their car and explain that what they have just been told is not altogether accurate and that you would like to share what you have witnessed.  

Be sure that you do not understate your needs.  Your input is essential to the assessment.

When you have made the decision to contact Continuing Care, please give us a call.  We can help by providing fact sheets on other Continuing Care programs and access to the Continuing Care policies so you are better prepared for your conversation with them.