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Care Homes & Special Care Homes

Sometimes even with supports and services seniors can't or don't want to continue to live on their own. Personal Care Homes offering a variety of programs and services are one option. For seniors who require more care and who can no longer safely live in the community Special Care Homes are an option.

Personal Care Homes

Personal care homes provide a range of care options for older adults who require some assistance. They can be an option for individuals who are not eligible for publicly funded long-term care, as well as those looking for alternative care. In addition to accommodation and meals, personal care homes typically provide assistance or direction regarding matters such as nutrition, personal hygiene, dressing, taking medications and general mobility. They may also offer a variety of opportunities for social and recreational activities and are staffed 24 hours a day.

Personal care homes are licensed and monitored by the Ministry of Health, however they are privately owned and operated businesses. Individuals and the home operator will enter into an admission agreement that outlines the terms of the agreement, the range of services provided and the associated costs. The type of care offered, the number of residents and the cost will vary. Individuals are responsible for the full cost of care. Low-income seniors may be eligible for assistance with the cost of living in a licensed personal care home through the Personal Care Home Benefit, managed by the Ministry of Social Services. More detailed information, including a listing of personal care homes by area and a guide entitled Selecting a Personal Care Home that is Right for You, is available online.

Special Care Homes

Moving to a special-care home is a personal choice. If you are competent to make decisions for yourself and meet the criteria for long-term care, you can decide whether a special-care home is right for you. No one can force a competent person to move to a special-care home against their will. If you are not competent to make your own decision the law determines who can make this decision for you. People such as a personal guardian, appointed by the court, or your nearest relative can decide for you. If there is no one to make the decision two people who are treating you can agree to admit you.

Special-care homes are designed for individuals whose needs can no longer be met in the community through home/community-based services. Admission is on the basis of assessed need. Special-care homes continue to try to maintain the highest level of independence possible for their residents.

Discovering the features and services of different housing options and how they match your individual needs will help you decide what is right for you and your family. It is also important for caregivers to consider their own needs alongside of the older adults in relation to each option. Special-care homes generally have an information booklet for new residents that can provide valuable information about the particular special-care home and the services provided.

Assessments

Assessments provide valuable information about the type of care required and are the first step when considering a move to a special-care home. Factors such as an individual’s physical health, mental status, social relationships, emotional state, spiritual needs and family or community supports will all be considered. More detailed information is available through the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

Wait Lists

The Saskatchewan Health Authority has a rating system to ensure that individuals with the highest need and living at the greatest risk are accommodated first. It is always difficult to estimate how long the wait will be for special-care home accommodation. However, notice is short – individuals moving to a special-care home are expected to move to the first available spot within a matter of days. Unfortunately, the first available spot is not always in the preferred facility or community. When this happens there is an option of transferring to the facility of choice when a space is available.

Activities

Special-care homes may provide a variety of physical and recreational activities suited to the needs and interests of the residents. Residents should have free access to recreational areas unless it would be unsafe.

Special-care homes generally cooperate with the clergy in the community to meet the spiritual needs of the residents but the services offered may vary depending on the size of the facility and the community. Residents have the choice whether or not to participate in any spiritual activities.

Unless there is a good reason to refuse, residents should be allowed to leave the facility to visit, shop or socialize. You may want to discuss circumstances where permission to leave the facility may be restricted and ask about the policies in place to help ensure the safety of residents.

Meals

Special-care homes must provide meals that meet the standards set out in Canada’s Food Guide. Special diets can be provided on doctor’s orders. Generally speaking, residents are encouraged to take their meals in a dining room along with other residents.

A Word for Couples

Where only one spouse requires long-term care, couples may choose to base the fee on half of their combined income or solely on the income of the spouse requiring care. As well, it may be beneficial to have OAS and GIS payments re-calculated. For more information, contact Service Canada toll free at 1 800 277 9914.

Financial Considerations

Individuals are responsible for covering a portion of the cost of living in a special-care home. Generally, monthly fees are provincially determined and adjusted quarterly to reflect changes in Old Age Security (OAS), Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and Seniors Income Plan (SIP) payments.

The amount residents pay varies depending on their annual income. Resident charges are based on income only, including interest received from investments and bank accounts. Personal assets, such as land, homes or bank accounts are not taken into account.

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