Long-term care overview
Information about, and how to find and apply to a long-term care home.
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About long-term care homes
Long-term care homes are places where adults can live and receive:
- help with most or all daily activities
- access to 24-hour nursing and personal care
You can expect much more nursing and personal care here than you would typically receive in a retirement home or supportive housing.
To live in a long-term care home, you must:
- be age 18 or older
- have a valid Ontario Health Insurance Program (OHIP) card
- have care needs including:
- 24-hours nursing care and personal care
- frequent assistance with activities of daily living
- on-site supervision or monitoring to ensure your safety or well-being
- have care needs which cannot be safely met in the community through publicly-funded community-based services and other care-giving support
- have care needs which can be met in a long-term care home
All personal and nursing care provided by long-term care homes in Ontario are funded by the government. You must pay for accommodation charges such as room and board.
Services and facilities
You can expect to receive the following services in a long-term care home:
- shared dining room, TV rooms and other living areas
- nursing and personal care on a 24-hour basis
- access to health professionals
- individual care plan (reviewed every 3 months)
- furnishings (e.g., bed and chair)
- meals (including special diets)
- bed linens and laundry
- personal hygiene supplies
- medical/clinical supplies (e.g., walkers and wheelchairs for occasional use)
- individualized religious and spiritual services
- social and recreational programs
- medical services
- assistance with activities of daily living
Optional services are usually available for a fee such as hairdressing, cable TV, telephone services and transportation.
How to arrange care
All applications and admission to long-term care homes are arranged by Home and Community Care Support Services organizations.
To start this process:
1. Call your local Home and Community Care Support Services organization
Your local Home and Community Care Support Services will help you every step of the way. Home and Community Care Support Services staff will:
- determine your eligibility
- tell you about homes in your area
- tell you about costs
- help you apply
To contact your local Home and Community Care Support Services:
- enter your postal code online
- call 310-2222 (no area code required)
2. Choose a long-term home
To find a home that offers the care you are looking for, you should:
- visit more than one home
- ask the right questions when you visit
- read the Ministry of Long-Term Care’s report about each home
3. Apply for care
Once your local Home and Community Care Support Services organization has determined that you are eligible, you can apply to a maximum of 5 homes. Your local Home and Community Care Support Services organization will coordinate your application for you.
4. Waiting for an offer
If your application is accepted by the home(s), you may have to wait until a bed becomes available. The time you wait depends on:
- the number of beds available in the home
- the type of bed you’ve requested
- whether the bed you’ve requested is in a private, semi-private or basic room
Home and Community Care Support Services staff will contact you when a bed becomes available. You have 24 hours to accept or reject the offer.
If you accept the offer, you have up to five days to move in. If you refuse the offer, your application to all chosen homes will be cancelled. In this case, you cannot re-apply for 12 weeks after the day you were removed from the waiting list, unless there is a significant change in your condition or circumstances.
In Ontario, the Ministry of Health regulates, inspects and sets out accommodation fees for all long-term care homes.
By law, long-term care homes must provide residents safe, consistent, high-quality, and resident-centred care.
Provincial standards for long-term care homes are set out in: