Home and community care
How to get help for patients and seniors who need support living at home.
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Home and community care services are for people of all ages who require care in their home, at school or in the community.
Seniors and people with complex medical conditions of all ages can often stay in their own homes if they have some support. This includes:
- individuals with chronic conditions
- persons who require palliative care
- individuals who require post-acute care at home
- persons with disabilities who require care over a longer period to remain safe at home
If you qualify
If you qualify, the Ontario government pays for home care. You may also be eligible for community support services, which can have a client co-payment. Your health care provider will let you know if you are eligible.
You can also pay for your own care through private companies.
How to access home and community care services
Home and Community Care Support Services organizations provide home care and facilitate access to community support services. Home and Community Care Support Services organizations also provide long-term care home placement services and can provide information about, and referrals to, other providers of health and social services.
If you reach out to Home and Community Care Support Services organizations to request home care services, they are responsible for assessing your care needs, determining your eligibility for the home care services they provide, and developing a care plan for you if you are eligible for their services.
If you are not eligible for home care services, the Home and Community Care Support Services organization may provide you with information about or referrals to other resources that may better suit your needs.
Home and Community Care Support Services is the new business name for Local Health Integration Networks.
Starting the process
Call your Home and Community Care Support Services organization
To contact your Home and Community Care Support Services organization:
- use the Home and Community Care Support Services map to find the nearest organizations
310-2222(no area code required)
Discuss your needs
You will be connected to a case manager or care coordinator who will make an initial assessment of your needs and your eligibility for the services that the Home and Community Care Support Services organization provides.
As part of this process, a care coordinator may visit your home to better assess your needs.
Check if you qualify for government-funded services
Based on your assessed needs and the services that are available in your community, the case manager or care coordinator will determine what home care services you are eligible to receive from Home and Community Care Support Services.
Your case manager or care coordinator may also refer you to other local organizations that provide community care services.
Finalize your home care plan
If you are eligible for home care services from Home and Community Care Support Services, your case manager or care coordinator will work with you and anyone you designate (such as a family member or friend) to create a customized home care plan that meets your specific needs. The plan will consider your preferences, including those based on ethnic, spiritual, linguistic, familial and cultural factors.
Once your care plan is determined, the Home and Community Care Support Services organization will either provide your care through its own staff or through one of its service provider organizations. Both organizations will work with you to schedule your care visits.
If your needs or circumstances change, your case manager or care coordinator will reassess your needs and may adjust your care plan. You can reach out to your case manager or care coordinator about your changing needs and with questions or concerns.
If you don’t qualify for home care services
If you don’t qualify for government-funded home care services and believe that you should, you can file a complaint with the Home and Community Care Support Services organization. Ask the organization how to make a complaint. They are required to provide this information, review your complaint and respond with an explanation of the steps taken to address the complaint. If you are not satisfied with the response, you may be able to escalate your complaint within the Home and Community Care Support Services organization.
You can also appeal a decision by a Home and Community Care Support Services organization to the Ontario Health Services Appeal and Review Board (HSARB). These include:
- a decision that you are not eligible for a home care service
- a decision to exclude a home care service from your care plan
- a decision regarding the amount of a home care service in your care plan
- the termination of a home care service
You can contact the HSARB by phone at:
Learn more about how to make a complaint.
Types of services in your home
The following in-home services available through Home and Community Care Support Services organizations.
Health care professionals
You may be eligible for professional services, including:
- nursing care - including help to take medications, change bandages and clean wounds, or recover from an injury or health problem
- physiotherapy - including help for back pain, mobility problems, blood circulation, pain relief and relaxation
- occupational therapy - including help to make day-to-day activities easier and make it easier to move around in your home
- speech-language pathology - including assistance for seniors who have difficulty speaking or understanding speech
- social work - including help for caregivers to cope and manage stress and help for families to address conflicts
- healthy eating - including help to assess eating habits and create a healthy eating plan
Personal support services
You may be eligible for personal support services to help you with activities of daily living, including:
- washing and bathing
- mouth care
- hair care
- preventative skin care
- routine hand or foot care
- getting in and out of chairs, vehicles or beds
- dressing and undressing
You may be eligible for homemaking services if you are also receiving personal support services or you require constant supervision as a result of a cognitive impairment or acquired brain injury. Homemaking services include:
- doing laundry
- paying bills
- planning menus
- preparing menus
- caring for children
Family-managed home care or self-directed care
For greater flexibility and choice, if you’re eligible for home care services from your Home and Community Care Support Services organization, you may be eligible to receive funding to pay for the home care services in your care plan from a qualified provider of your choice. You are responsible for the related administrative tasks, such as finding, hiring and paying your service providers, but you also have the freedom to choose your provider, direct how they care for you or your loved one and set a schedule that best works for you.
This program is available for the following people with home care needs:
- children with complex medical needs
- adults with an acquired brain injury
- home-schooled children with qualifying health care needs
- those in extraordinary circumstances
Contact your local Home and Community Care Support Services organization to find out if you are eligible and for more information on how this program works.
End-of-life care at home
If you or a loved one requires end-of-life care at home, there are many services that can help you, including:
- nursing and personal support services
- medical supplies, including low-cost medication for seniors through the Ontario Drug Benefit Plan
- hospital and sickroom equipment
- transportation to other health services
- help to manage pain
- home hospice services - including in-home visits and respite care by trained volunteers
Types of services in your community
Many organizations provide community care for seniors and other people who may need supports to continue living independently at home.
Note: You may have to pay a fee for some of these programs and some listed services are offered only in larger communities.
These services include:
- meal services
- transportation services
- caregiver support and respite services
- adult day programs
- home maintenance and repair services
- friendly visiting services
- security checks or reassurance services
- social or recreational services
- client intervention and assistance services
- emergency response services
- foot care services
- home help referral services
- independence training
- palliative care education and consultation services
- psychogeriatric consulting services relating to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias
- public education services relating to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias
- services for persons with blindness or visual impairment
- services for persons with deafness, congenital hearing loss or acquired hearing loss
- bereavement services
- behavioural supports
- education, prevention, and awareness services about:
- home and community care services
- mental health and addictions
- chronic disease management
- aphasia and communication disorders
- vocational training and education for persons with a cognitive or physical impairment to assist them to enter the work force or education system in the community
Your care plan can include Traditional Healing and/or Indigenous cultural support services. These services are available to enhance culturally safe care for Indigenous clients in home or the community by incorporating traditional approaches to care.
Many communities also have residential hospices where end-of-life care is provided in a home-like environment for those who can no longer stay in their own homes. People in residential hospices receive a wide range of palliative services to keep them comfortable.
Exercise and falls prevention classes
These classes help seniors stay active, healthy and independent. They focus on improving strength and balance to prevent injury and falls. They are led by fitness instructors, trained peer facilitators or support workers - not by a registered physiotherapist.
You may find classes offered in your community or long-term care homes.
To find a class near you call the Seniors’ INFOline at:
Assisted Living Services
Assisted Living Services support people who need a greater level of service than what can be provided with scheduled visits typically through Home Care and Community Support Services organizations, but without the medical monitoring or 24/7 nursing supervision provided in long-term care homes.
These services are most often, but not only, provided in settings such as supportive housing, apartment buildings or geographic areas where clients live close together. This enables care to be provided as a drop-in or as-needed basis instead of scheduled visits.
Services are targeted towards:
- persons with physical disabilities - an individual 16 years of age or older with an impairment in their body structure or function (for example, loss or paralysis of a limb(s), birth defect, chronic progressive disease, spinal cord injury or other physical disability)
- persons with an Acquired Brain Injury - an individual 16 years of age or older with a diagnosis of an Acquired Brain Injury, which is damage to the brain after birth that is not due to a congenital disorder, developmental disability or a progressive disease process
- persons with HIV/AIDS - an individual 16 years of age or older with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) which is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- high-risk seniors - an individual who is deemed eligible based on an assessment that considers an individual’s cognitive ability, mobility, communication skills, and several other factors
- personal support services
- homemaking services
- security checks
- care coordination between Assisted Living Services and other services
Find out if you are eligible for Assisted Living Services through the Home and Community Care Support Services organization in your region.
How to make a complaint
Home care complaints
Complaints about Home and Community Care Support Services organizations or their service provider organizations should be reported directly to the relevant Home and Community Care Support Services organizations or the service provider organization.
Home and Community Care Support Services organizations are required to:
- have a process for reviewing complaints
- provide information about how to make a complaint
- respond to complaints within 60 days (or 10 days if the complaint alleges abuse or neglect by the Home Care and Community Support Services organizations or the service provider organization resulting in harm or risk of harm to the patient)
You may appeal to the Health Services Appeal and Review Board if you have a complaint about:
- a decision about eligibility for a home care service
- the amount of a service in a care plan
- exclusion of a service from a care plan
- the termination of service is not resolved to the patient’s satisfaction
Anyone can also report harm or neglect or make other complaints about home care by calling the Long-term Care ACTION Line toll-free at:
Their hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., 7 days a week
You can also reach out to the Patient Ombudsman for help with your complaint about home care by phone at:
Their hours of operation are Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Assisted Living Services and community support services complaints process
Complaints related to Assisted Living Services and community support services should be reported directly to the service provider. Service providers are required to:
- have a process for reviewing complaints and suggestions
- provide written information to the client, the client’s substitute decision-maker, if any, and anyone designated by the client or their substitute decision-maker, about how to make a complaint
- respond to complaints within 60 days (or 10 days, if the complaint alleges abuse or neglect by the service provider resulting in harm or risk of harm to the patient)
You may appeal the decision to the Health Services Appeal and Review Board, if a complaint about a service provider’s decision about:
- a person’s eligibility for service
- amount of service in their care plan
- exclusion of a service from their care plan
- termination of service is not resolved to the client’s satisfaction
A client may also make a complaint to the Patient Ombudsman about an unresolved complaint regarding the provision of personal support services or homemaking services that is not subject to an appeal to the Health Services Appeal and Review Board.
Issues related to the tenant-landlord relationship, if applicable, would be addressed by the Landlord and Tenant Board.