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Given the choice, most of us would prefer to remain in our own homes or apartments rather than make a move to a retirement home or long-term care home.

In some cases, this is not possible because we can no longer live independently...safely, or because more congregate settings offer a richer, more fulfilling life with meal and houskeeping supports and social stimulation.

Home Care and Community Support Services, are intended to allow you to live in your own home safely and as independently as possible with the help of a variety of supportive services and, possibly care.

Getting Started

Because many Home Care Services are funded by the government, the best place to go to access these services is through your local Community Care Access Centre or Health Region.  There your needs will be thoroughly assessed and the most appropriate services will be recommended.  Depending upon your needs, some of the services may be covered under Ministry of Health funding, If you need more help, check out HelpForMom.com. Call them at 1-866-428-0292.

You can also access a service provider directly if you wish to retain additional services, in which case you usually pay for the full cost of the services.

Depending upon your financial situation and the individual service provider, subsidies may be available.  Finding an appropriate Home Health Care and Community Support Service provider takes time and research but you're already off to a great start.  TheCareGuide.com's search tool and self-guided needs assessment tool can help you quickly find the providers in your area that offer the services you require.

What to Look For

Choosing a Home Care and Community Support Service provider is different from choosing a retirement home or long-term care home since service delivery is more intangible - there are no “bricks and mortar” that you can touch and feel.  As a result, much of the search process will need to be done on the Internet or over the telephone.

However, it may be possible to visit the offices of the provider - is the office professional in appearance? clean and well organized? - you can tell a great deal about a provider by the condition of their premises.

You may also have a friend or relative that uses their services who can tell you about the quality of the services. It may also be a good idea to check with the Better Business Bureau or the Ministry of Health to see if there have been any complaints made about the provider.

Here are some questions to ask when speaking to your Home Care Provider:

  • Is the company bondable?
  • Is the company a member of any industry associations or organizations which strive to ensure its members provide quality services?
  • What services does the provider offer? Will these services meet all of your needs now and over time?
  • Can the provider assist you in obtaining other services which it does not offer?
  • What do the various services you require cost? (if not funded through the government’s Home Care Program)
  • When are the services available - weekdays or weekends, morning, afternoon or evening?
  • How often are your needs assessed and your care plan evaluated?
  • What are the company’s hours of operation? Is there someone available to answer questions or respond to a crisis?
  • Will the same person be providing services to you? Do you have any choice regarding the person who provides your services? What happens if the person providing the services becomes ill or does not show up?
  • What qualifications do the persons providing the service have?
  • Can the provider speak your language or cater to your specific ethic requirements?

Hopefully the above list of questions and things to look for shopping for a Home Health Care and Community Support Service Provider will help you. You may want to download and print this list and have it with you to ensure that you ask all the questions you intended to.

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