According to the province of Ontario, a Long-Term Care Home (LCTH) is a place where adults can live and receive help with most or all daily activities, plus receive nursing and personal care 24-hours a day. Unlike a retirement home or supportive housing, a Long-Term Care Home provides additional care and supervision, in a safe and supportive setting, for those with more complex health care needs.
People often choose to explore Long-Term Care Homes when:
- The family or caregivers can no longer provide support
- Health needs require ongoing care
- The patient is unable to return home after spending time in the hospital
- Care needs exceed those available in the community
Since 2010, Ontario’s Long-Term Care sector has undergone profound change due to the provinces’ Aging at Home Strategy, a program that includes increased community-based services and funding for seniors, to help them to stay healthy and live independently with dignity in their homes. Prior to the program, Long-Term Care Homes accommodated a mix of residents with low to very high care needs. Today, admission criteria are much stricter as long-term care is reserved for those with high to very high health care needs.
In Ontario, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care regulates, inspects, and determines accommodation fees for all Long-Term Care Homes. Long-term care is part of the province’s health care system and is publicly funded on a cost-shared basis with residents. While personal and nursing care is funded by the government, residents are responsible for their own accommodation costs, such as room and board.
If you decide that moving into a Long-Term Care Home is necessary, the next step is to determine the length of stay, either temporary or long-term. Accommodation costs follow the same standard in all Long-Term Care Homes across Ontario, however, the monthly rates depend on the type of accommodation desired. In 2020, monthly rates are as follows:
- $2,701.61/month for Long-stay Private
- $2,280.04/month for Long-stay Semi-private
- $1,891.31/month for Long-stay Basic
- $40.24/day for Short-stay
Government subsidies according to ability to pay
Residents who lack the financial means to cover the costs for a basic room may be eligible for a subsidy through the government of Ontario’s Long-Term Care Home Rate Reduction Program. To reduce their monthly bill, eligible residents can benefit from up to $1,891.31 a month to help pay for their basic long-term care accommodation. Here, it’s important to note that the subsidy is only available to residents requesting a basic room and not a semi-private or private room. Those who qualify must also complete an application form and submit it to their Long-Term Care Home.
What is included in the accommodation fees?
Residents can expect the following services and facilities in a Long-Term Care Home:
- shared dining room, TV rooms and other living areas
- nursing and personal care on a 24-hour basis
- access to health professionals
- individual care plan (reviewed every 3 months)
- furnishings (e.g., bed and chair)
- meals (including special diets)
- bed linens and laundry
- personal hygiene supplies
- medical/clinical supplies (e.g., walkers and wheelchairs for occasional use)
- individualized religious and spiritual services
- social and recreational programs
- medical services
- assistance with activities of daily living
Certain expenses must be covered by the resident such as hairdressing, cable TV, telephone services and transportation.
What if a Long-Term Care Home separates you from your spouse?
Effective January 1, 2018, Ontario’s Long-Term Care Homes Act now grants preferential access for people seeking to be reunited in a Long-Term Care Home with their spouse or partner. Spousal placement is given the highest priority, the same as crisis, meaning spouses spend less time waiting to be reunited, and more time spending their days together.
Take the first steps
When you or a loved one decide to live in a Long-Term Care Home, a financial advisor can help you calculate your income and investments to estimate your ability to pay for it. That way, you’ll have all the tools you need to create your budget.