Adventures in Eldercare - April 2011
While we are in the midst of this federal election campaign, throughout the promising and the posturing is a common theme- Eldercare! People who work with the elderly are well aware of the gaps in service and the need for a more cohesive national eldercare policy. Fortunately, the politicians are now more aware of the issues and every day the average person is becoming more educated regarding this very important issue that directly affects a large and rapidly growing segment of our population.
I thought it prudent to present a brief primer on some terms that you may have heard from the various candidates and through party platforms.
CCAC: (Community Care Access Centre) CCAC’s are fully funded by the Ministry of Health in Ontario. They act as a single point of access for community health services, adult day services and admissions into Long Term Care Facilities. This is your first contact when an elder senior needs medical assistance. CCAC will have a case manager assess the senior and make recommendations as to whether home care is required or if a LTC facility is the better option. Our local CCAC can be reached directly by calling 519-426-7400.
LTC: (Long Term Care Facility- also known as nursing homes) These facilities offer full medical supervision for frail, disabled or chronically ill seniors that require 24 hour supervision in a controlled environment.
Assisted Living Facility: This type of accommodation is a middle ground between LTC and Retirement homes. The goal is to maintain independence for the senior. To do this, assistance is needed on an ongoing basis for the Activities of Daily Living (ADL), as well as medication supervision. These types of facilities can be connected with Retirement homes and act as a transition stage before entering into a LTC facility.
Retirement Home: Most retirement residences provide accommodation, meals, social/recreational programs, 24 hour supervision, laundry and housekeeping services. A retirement home is appropriate for a senior that requires minimal assistance with the ADLs. Retirement homes are privately run and not regulated or subsidized by the government.
Homecare: There are two types of homecare for elder seniors: medical homecare and non-medical homecare.
Medical Homecare is allocated on a needs basis determined by CCAC. It is covered by the Ministry of Health. CCAC has designated providers that it uses to deliver homecare, which can include nurses, therapists, safety consultants and personal support workers (PSWs).
Non-medical Homecare is delivered privately, and provides assistance for elder seniors that require assistance with ADL. Non-medical homecare provides a wide array of services to help the senior age in place. This might include help with errands or appointments, companionship and respite care to assist family caregivers. Other services may include meal preparation, medication reminders, assistance with showering and toileting. Most non-medical homecare is delivered by PSWs.
This is such an important topic; I am going to continue it next month. Next month we will talk about what kind of costs to expect and where the money comes from. There will be a new elected federal government by then and there may be a better idea of funding initiatives. Make sure you get out and vote!
Dr. Bruce Veltri operates Victoria Eldercare, a non-medical home care agency matching exceptional care-givers with elderly seniors, to help them maintain independence and remain safely in their own home. Victoria Eldercare can be contacted by phone, 519-429-2644 or the web-site, www.victoriaeldercare.com.