Home Care

Home care, either private or government-funded, can improve quality of life for the person needing care as well as their family and friend caregivers.  Since most of the care given at home is done by unpaid caregivers, making the decision to look into home care options is one way to avoid a future crisis.

Research shows, and our experience with caregivers has taught us, that when caregivers don’t reach out for support and services it can be harmful to their mental and physical health.  Taking the 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. All home care providers accessed through government-funded programs are licensed, regulated, and approved by the Department of Health and Wellness.

You can find out about government-funded home care by contacting Continuing Care 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 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 an assessment to determine what programs, services, and benefits you or your loved one qualify for. They will design an individual care plan that will include the number of hours of services your care recipient has been approved for, as well as a breakdown of costs – costs that will be based on your care recipient's 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.

It is a good idea to prepare for this assessment ahead of time by finding out what programs, services, and benefits Continuing Care has to offer. That way you know what to ask about.  For example, both the Caregiver Benefit and the Supportive Care Program might help with the costs of caregiving so you can 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 is another option for families when care is needed in addition to the care provided by Continuing Care.  You might want to contact several home care providers to get an idea 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 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 you hire your own private home care providers it’s important to 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 nearby. It may help you make the right decision about who you will hire to provide this  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.

Caregiver Tips

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

Now is the time to be clear about what you can and can’t contribute to your loved one’s care.  For example, if you have a full-time job and your loved one expects you to be there to provide meals each day, they may need to change 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 can be given over to a paid care provider.  

If it’s 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’re resistant, have a talk and ask why.  Try to see it from their perspective.  What if someone was telling you that YOU needed home care?  How would you like the conversation to be handled so you feel respected and heard?  What can you do to make your loved one feel secure and involved in the process?

It’s important to be honest with everyone about what the challenges are.  When the case manager or Care Coordinator arrives don’t be surprised to find that your loved one exaggerates their abilities.  If your loved one is not being honest about what they can or can’t do, or 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.   It might be a good idea to 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’ve experienced with your loved one. 

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

When you've 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.