Home care in Toronto and the GTA

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 Home care in the Toronto Area

 
Access to home health care varies across Canada, but the Greater Toronto Area is fortunate to have a wide variety of options available for residents. There are many reasons why you or a family member might want to consider hiring a caregiver or personal support worker (PSW), including:
  • Recent hospital stay. An operation, an accident, or an illness can leave you feeling under the weather. If a family member needs assistance to manage household tasks or to care for him/herself after a hospital stay, a PSW can be a huge help.
  • Progressive illness. Conditions like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s can have unpredictable progressions. You many need home care help for a family member before he/she takes up residence in a retirement home.
  • Respite. If a member of the family has to be closely supervised due to a condition such as autism, you may need respite. A PSW can provide regular relief for family caregivers.
  • Palliative care. If a family member is facing a terminal illness, he/she may want to stay at home as long as possible. A PSW can help to keep the client comfortable and provide companionship during this most difficult time.

Accessing Information About Home Healthcare

 
General information about home care can be found on the CCAC website, or on the Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Health website. The Health Canada website provides further information about funding for home care services.
 
Basically, home healthcare can be divided into four areas:
  1. Personal Care: Includes such services as bathing, eating, dressing, and toileting.
  2. Household Care: Includes cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, and other housekeeping tasks.
  3. Health Care: Includes medication management, taking the client to physician's appointments, physical therapy, monitoring blood sugar/blood pressure, wound care, etc. Usually an RN will supervise this activity.
  4. Emotional Care: Includes companionship, engaging the client in meaningful activities, and conversation.
Some agencies provide PSWs who can perform a variety of tasks while others are limited in terms of how many hours can be provided and what tasks can be performed.
 

Hallmarks of a Premium Home Healthcare Agency

 
Excellent healthcare agencies share certain characteristics. Flexibility is a key attribute; good agencies understand that your family’s needs evolve over time, and that making adjustments to the schedule may be necessary on a weekly basis. Better agencies offer 24/7 service and will provide support at home, in the hospital, or even at nursing homes.
 
Another hallmark is choice. Rather than assigning whichever worker has time, premium agencies place value on finding a PSW who matches your family’s needs. You may have the opportunity to interview several candidates and choose the one you feel is the best fit. Considerations such as shared values, culture, language, or interests may be part of this selection process.
 
Choose an agency that screens its employees very carefully. Your PSW should have a certificate from a college training program and at least a year of experience in the field. He or she should have undergone a rigorous screening process and should have insurance. As well, workers should earn a good wage.
 
Research your home healthcare options today. A good caregiver can provide independence, companionship, and support which can immeasurably enrich your family’s quality of life.
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