There are many stages in life, and they all come with a different set of circumstances and changes. As we get older, one of the considerations we may face is the decision to enter into a long-term care home.
Perhaps you only require temporary support for specific medical or therapy services before returning home from hospital, or your family requires temporary relief when they need a rest from caregiving. These are also situations where you can be supported in a long-term care home.
So if you’re getting to a point where you are considering a stay in a long-term care home, either for yourself or a loved one, there are a few things to think about.
When is it time to apply for long-term care?
It’s time to explore long-term care when you:
- Feel your care needs exceed what other services in the community can support
- Need help with day-to-day tasks such as eating, bathing, and dressing
- Need on-site monitoring for your safety and well-being
- Need nursing care to be available on-site 24 hours a day
How do you find out whether long-term care is the appropriate solution?
When you feel the time is right, you can call 1-888-447-4468, and a care coordinator will support you throughout the decision-making process. A care coordinator will work with you to:
Explore other housing options, such as supportive housing and assisted living, or retirement homes, which are suitable for people who require minimal assistance
Asses your needs and determine if a long-term care home is the right fit to support you
Help you make an informed decision and work with you to complete your application
Assess your eligibility for long-term care, as well as for home care services that can help support you while you wait for a long-term care bed to become available
Note: You can select up to five long-term care homes. You will be responsible for paying an accommodation rate once accepted into a home. You can find these rates at
What happens after you apply?
Each long-term care home carries its own wait list and wait times for beds can range from days to several months.
A care coordinator will contact you when a bed becomes available in one of your chosen homes. You will then have 24 hours to accept or decline the offer. If you accept, you must be ready to move into the home within five days.
If the home you’re moving into is not your first choice, you can remain on the wait list for another home.
If you refuse the bed offer, your name will be removed from the wait lists for all of your chosen homes and your file will be closed. You will not be able to reapply for 12 weeks unless your condition changes. There are limited exceptions to this rule.
There are situations where a care coordinator might determine you need immediate admission to long-term care and are eligible for a crisis designation. This could be due to your health condition, closures of beds in the hospital or facility you’re currently staying in, severe capacity pressures in the hospital you’re in, or another reason.
With a crisis designation, you can apply to as many long-term care homes as you’d like. There are still varying wait times attached to each home. If you have a crisis designation and are offered a bed in a lower-ranked choice, you can keep your name on the wait lists for your preferred homes.
Things to keep in mind:
- You cannot apply for long-term care to hold your spot in line. If you or your family member is applying to a long-term care home, you must be prepared to accept the bed when it is offered and move in within five days.
- In order to move in to a long-term care home, you must first be assessed as eligible for long-term care by a care coordinator.
- If you decline a bed offer, you will be removed from all wait lists for homes you’ve selected. You cannot apply again for 12 weeks. There are limited exceptions to this rule.
- Your place on a waitlist cannot be adjusted. Your position is determined by the rules set out in regulations that govern long-term care home admissions.
- Keep an open mind when looking at long-term care homes. Be sure to tour (or virtual tour) several homes, talk to staff, meet other families, and ask questions. While everyone may be drawn to a newer home, limiting your options could lead to a longer wait.
Short-stay respite facilities are designed to provide temporary relief to caregivers when they need a rest from caregiving. The maximum length of stay is 60 days at a time with a maximum of 90 days per year (January-December).
This program provides 24 hour per-day short-stay care to people from hospital or the community who need specific medical and therapy services to help them recover their strength, endurance, and mobility before returning home. The average length of stay is 30 to 45 days with a maximum of 90 days per year (January–December).
For more information about:
- Crisis Designation
- Short-Stay Respite
- Convalescent Care
Please call 1.888.447.4468
This article was written and submitted by:
Erie St.Clair Local Health Integration Network, Chatham, ON.