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Placement in Long Term Care - Where to start
A good place to start
A visit to the family physician may be a good place to start. He or she may not understand all of the ins and outs of the long term care system, but can determine if there is a particular health problem in evidence, whether it is wise to continue living alone, or if some additional support would be advisable.
Finding out about long term care homes
To find out about the community services and long term care homes in your area, the place to begin is with your local Community Care Access Centre. CCACs, as they are known, are not service providers. Rather, they are "one stop shopping" centres to help you connect with the services you need.
CCACs arrange for health and personal support services to be provided in peoples' homes and arrange admissions to long term care homes. CCACs also provide information and referrals to other community services including supportive housing, meals-on-wheels, friendly visiting, transportation services, adult day programs and caregiver respite programs.
CCAC staff is trained to assess each individual's requirements and determine the eligibility of persons to receive assistance for the services that CCACs can offer.
CCAC staff also assists with admission application to a Long Term Care Home (home for the aged or nursing home); when help in the community is no longer adequate, care in a long term care home is usually the next step.
Am I choosing the right option?
It is recommended you visit the home you are considering applying to. You will get a feel from that visit about the atmosphere, about the staffing, about the way the clientele react to staff and to each other, about the programs offered, and about how welcomed you feel during the visit. You may want to take a look at our suggested questions to consider when visiting homes. Also view our Frequently Asked Questions.
Between your own physician's diagnosis and the assessment of the CCAC case manager, the decision about the correct services required should be accurate for the moment. Remember that situations change. The appropriate service today may not be right three months down the line. The professionals involved in each situation will advise if it seems to be in your best interest to find another option.
Even if, in an emergency situation, or because of long waiting lists in programs or homes, choices are being made for you that are not your first choice, you have every right to request an eventual move to the home you select.
Checklist of questions to consider when visiting homes
The following are some questions you might want to consider getting answers to as you visit homes to help you in your decision making process:
. What group governs the home? Is it operated on a not-for-profit or for-profit basis? What is its Mission Statement?
. Is it convenient for family and friends to visit?
. Is there a welcoming atmosphere when I enter the building?
. Do residents appear well groomed and appropriately dressed?
. How do I see staff reacting toward residents and amongst themselves? Do they appear to know residents' names?
. Is the home clean? Is it free of offensive odours?
. Are resident rooms well appointed? Is furniture in good repair? Is a call bell - or some communication device or system - within easy reach? What personal belongings may the resident bring?
. Is there privacy in the resident's room? Are areas provided in the home for private visits with residents?
. Visit during a meal time. Check the menus and the choices provided. Is the dining area clean and inviting? Do the meals look appetizing? Are special diets provided? Is a dietitian involved with meal planning and assessment of residents? Are family members or friends able to have an occasional meal with the resident?
. Is there a special secured area for the safety of residents who might wander away? Is there special programming provided in that area? Are those residents included in activities with the rest of the residents?
. How is the community involved with the home? Is there an Auxiliary and/or volunteer group?
. Are there any restrictions about visiting?
. What activities are provided for the residents? Are there provisions for services to improve mobility rehabilitation? Are there activities away from the home in which the residents may participate?
. Is there at least one Registered Nurse on duty at all times? What other staff are employed in the home?
. Who are physicians attending the home? How often do they visit?
. Are safe outdoor areas easily available to residents?
Download a printer friendly version of this checklist.
Source: Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors