Costs of respite care vary with “where” the service is delivered
Respite is critical to the health and well-being of the caregiver. Caregiving can only be sustained with regular intervals of respite care, whether these intervals are hours in the day, or days in the week. Costs of respite care begin at $20 per day.
Respite care can be received:
- In your own home
- In a long-term care home
- In a private retirement home
- At an adult day program
Costs of respite care at home
If the respite you are needing is to keep your loved one at home, and for you to leave, someone needs to be present in your home while you are away. Family members and close friends are good candidates to help, depending on the level of care needed. A family can draw up a schedule as to who will be covering what, or one person may agree to carry out all of the respite care. Family help will bring the costs of respite care down. If family and friends cannot help, hiring a home care agency to look after your loved one in your absence may be the answer.
Two types of respite care are generally needed at home:
- Regular intervals to give the caregiver a break every week, or
- A full-time but short-term period (a whole week or weekend) to allow the caregiver to take a vacation or attend a family function such as a wedding.
It is critical that a caregiver be given respite care at regular intervals. Respite guidelines for a family caregiver at home is to have a break at least two afternoons a week. It is important that respite time is regular and predictable. When the family caregiver can reasonably predict a time of respite, they can then book appointments and social meetings during these times. These respite times in the week will be precious, and the caregiver will look forward to them. Knowing that regular sessions of respite are available will help prevent caregiver burnout for the caregiver. Someone dropping by unexpectedly who allows you to leave the house impromptu for an hour is not enough. In Toronto and North York, because the travel time is always longer due to heavy traffic, a period of 4 hours is the minimum time for a suggested respite period. A 4-hour minimum will allow the caregiver travel time and a period doing the intended activity. The last thing you want for a respite session is to be stressed out knowing you haven’t allotted enough time to attend your appointment!
The costs of respite care at home will likely be billed by the hour. Depending on the level of care needed for your loved one, respite care at home will cost $25 to $30 per hour. Although expensive, one must remember that respite care is crucial to the health of the caregiver, and that caregiving from a single person cannot continue without it. An alternative question may be “What are the costs involved (emotionally and financially) if no family member can deliver the care?” The loved one needing care will likely have to leave home and go to a long term care facility.
In-home respite care through government funding
There is some government funding for minimal in-home respite care. Depending on the circumstance of the loved one’s care needs, and the needs of the primary caregiver, hours of care through the Toronto or North York local LHIN (formally the CCAC) may increase your hours and allow for some respite time. The hours allowed are determined through an assessment. The person you care for would get services at home in your absence.
Note that the government-funded care provided will not exceed a couple of hours each day. The family is usually expected to supplement with private home care, or caregiving by another family member.
A government-funded personal support worker (PSW) may provide the following services for respite care:
- personal support (e.g. oral care, bathing, dressing, assistance with medications, mobility)
- homemaking (e.g. meal preparation and laundry)
The number of hours you can receive for respite care at home varies by service and your unique situation. There is no cost of this respite care to the family, the government pays the PSW.
How to qualify for government funded respite care:
Qualifying for respite care at home is based on the needs of the person you’ve been caring for.
Your loved one must – at a minimum – have:
- a valid Ontario health card (i.e. be covered by OHIP)
- proper equipment for the services needed (e.g. shower chairs, transfer benches)
Your Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) will perform an assessment to determine whether you are eligible for respite care provided through government-funded home care. Call the LHIN central office at 310-2222 from anywhere in Ontario to start the process and speak to a community care manager.
Costs of respite care in a long-term care home
Respite care in a long-term care home is usually called a ‘short stay’. While the primary caregiver is away, your loved one can stay for a minimum of 7 days and a maximum of 60 days in an Ontario long-term care facility. A person cannot be admitted for more than 90 days in a calendar year under the respite care short stay program.
Cost is $38.19 per day (as of September 2017). Families are strongly advised to book well in advance (a couple of months in advance would be good), the more notice the better as bookings are made on a first come, first served basis. For the respite care short stay program, your loved one will be in a room that becomes available (you will have no choice, unfortunately), and it will most likely be a shared room. If the dates you want are not available at your first choice of Long-Term Care Home facility, your application will be sent to the next home on your list.
The costs of a respite care short stay are heavily subsidized by the government who pays for all the nursing and personal care associated with the long term care home, leaving the $38.19 per day covering the cost of the room and board.
How to qualify for respite care in a long-term care home
Qualifying for respite care in a long-term care home is based on both the needs of the primary caregiver, and the person being cared for.
To qualify, the primary caregiver must:
- need to be away for more than one day (e.g. vacation), or
- need to be in hospital, or
- be experiencing a health issue that is preventing the caregiver to provide care
The person being looked after must:
- need nursing care around the clock, or at frequent intervals, including
- on-site supervision
- assistance with activities of daily living
- monitoring to ensure their safety and well-being
- be 18 years or older
- be covered by OHIP (with a valid Ontario health card)
Your Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) will perform an assessment to determine whether you are eligible for short stay respite care at a long term care facility on Ontario. Call the LHIN central office at 310-2222 from anywhere in Ontario to start the process and speak to a community care manager. A community coordinator will come out to meet you and do an assessment.
Costs of respite care at a retirement home
Retirement homes in Toronto and North York offer short stay visits for people needing respite or recovery. Each retirement home charges a different fee, but most cost in the range of $120-150 per day, which includes 3 meals a day, housekeeping and a private room and bathroom. You can also take part in the activities of the retirement home while you are there.
If personal care is needed, your government care from CCAC (now the LHIN) can still provide service to you in the retirement home. Also, the retirement home may offer personal care services that you can buy by the minute per day. If heavier care is needed, you can always employ a home health care company like Retire-At-Home Services to ensure that your loved one is getting their personal care needs met.
The costs of respite care at St. Hilda’s Towers in a private room is $129.00 per night. This includes three meals daily served in the main dining room, weekly housekeeping service, participation in the full range of their activities, plus medication dispense by a nurse or PSW.
The exquisite Del Manor Northtown in North York provides respite for $125.00 per night. This includes 30 minutes of personal care per day (!) as well as all meals and full access to a wide range of activities.
The costs of respite care at the Chartwell Grenadier near High Park ranges from $99 to $150 per night depending on care needs.
Respite suites at retirement homes are in-demand, so you may have to call around to a few of them if immediate care is required. Advanced notice is advised. If you like your time at the retirement home, it is usually a seamless transition to stay on permanently.
Costs of respite care at adult day programs
As part of regularly scheduled respite for a family caregiver, day programs are a great cost-effective option to getting a break. Adult day programs offer the added benefit of having your loved one be engaged in activities away from the home. The primary caregiver gets respite from caregiving, and the loved one has a refreshing break from the house. Day programs are structured, and offer supervised activities in a group setting. Many day programs offer personal care and help toileting, which allows a greater number of people in need to enjoy the program’s benefits.
There are numerous day programs in Toronto and North York, and a directory of programs can be found here. Most, if not all programs, require payment, although subsidies are available. Transportation is often included or available for a fee. Many of the programs specialize in certain languages, so non-native English speakers can feel in-community.
The Hellenic Home for the Aged, for example runs a day program, Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm. The daily costs are $20 and this includes snacks, a hot lunch, and assistance with walking, toileting, showering, eating and medication reminders. Subsidies are available for those who qualify. The daily activities include gentle fitness, art therapy, music therapy, dancing, spiritual services and interactive games. There is no referral needed for this day program, so a family member can call directly to set up attendance.
The North York Seniors Centre provides an adult day program for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and/or dementia. The program runs 9:30am to 3pm Monday to Friday and additional hours may be available to extend the day. The cost of this day program is $28.50 per day, with subsidies available for eligible participants.
Supervised activities provided include:
- transportation to the program
- some personal care
- assistance with activities of daily living such as toileting, ambulation and dietary needs
Entry into this adult day program at the North York Seniors Centre is by referral through the LHIN, so you will need to be assessed by a case manager.
How to qualify for adult day programs in Toronto and North York
Some adult day programs require no referral at all, so family members can call the program co-ordinator and check availability and individual requirements. For the adult day programs that need a referral from the LHIN (formally the CCAC), you will need to speak with the LHIN coordinator assigned to the loved one you care for. This means calling the case manager you already deal with, or calling the LHIN central office at 310-2222 from anywhere in Ontario to start the process.
Respite care is necessary to help the family caregiver continue giving. If you need respite care for yourself or a caregiver close to you, call us to discuss how we can help. Fill out the form on the right-hand side of this page, or call us at 416-479-9659 for families west of Yonge Street, and 416-423-0963 for families east of Yonge Street.
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