Residential facilities for older adults and/or people with disabilities who are unable to function in an independent living environment because they need assistance with toileting, bathing, dressing, medication management and administration, meals and housekeeping and other activities of daily living, but do not require nursing care on a regular basis. Living options range from provincial institutions for individuals with the most severe disabilities who require intensive services to settings that enable individuals with disabilities to live with their own families or in their own homes or apartments with supportive services from community-based supported living providers. Alternatives in between include health care facilities for people with a primary need for developmental services in combination with an intermittent need for skilled nursing care; community care facilities (residential care homes or group homes) for people who require varying levels of supervision and assistance in the activities of daily living; assisted living facilities; continuing care retirement communities; foster family placements for adults who will benefit from interaction in a family environment; and semi-independent living facilities for individuals with disabilities who need minimal levels of support to live and work in the community. Some of these facilities are licensed by the province.
Programs that help families resolve conflicts and reach consensus about care options for older family members. The mediator meets with family members (generally adult children) and their parents to sort out contentious or unresolved issues relating to the care plans for their parents. Other relatives and close friends may also be involved in the process. The mediator's objective is to defuse the situation and keep the group focused on finding the best possible outcome for the parent. Topics may include money issues, health care and end-of-life choices, possessions, independence, living arrangements, safety, caregiving responsibilities, economic and geographic disparities among siblings, differing expectations, complicated role reversals, ingrained ways of behaving, old "baggage" and personal commitments. The service is generally provided by a trained, neutral conflict-resolution professional who may be an attorney or therapist with support, when helpful, from an elder law attorney, financial planner, caregiver or geriatric care manager.
Programs that investigate and attempt to resolve complaints made by or on behalf of residents of nursing facilities, residential care homes, assisted living facilities and other supervised living facilities for older adults. The program also promotes policies and practices that improve the quality of life, health, safety, welfare and rights of residents; monitors laws, regulations and policies that affect those who live in long-term care facilities; provides the public with information about long-term care options; and promotes the development of consumer organizations concerned about long-term care. Long term care falls under provincial/territorial jurisdiction and where no specific Ombudsman program is in place, appropriate complaints are directed to the provincial Ombudsman.
Programs that link individuals who are in need of intermediate, secured or skilled nursing care with facilities that are appropriate to their needs and preferences.
Programs that create a single, coordinated system of information, access and case management for older adults and people (including children) with disabilities and/or serious illnesses who are seeking short term or long term support to minimize confusion, maximize independence, enhance personal choice, support informed decision-making and provide individualized case management. Centres serve as a single point of entry to public long term support programs and services, generally including home care and adult day programs. They offer information and counselling regarding available long term support options; assist individuals in determining their eligibility for long term care programs and benefits including level of care determinations for long term care nursing facilities and home care programs; provide case management to stabilize long term supports for individuals and their families in times of immediate need; help people plan for their future long term support needs; and provide information about and referral to other programs and benefits (such as health promotion and disease prevention, transportation services, housing and income support programs) that help people remain in the community.
Programs that make necessary medical services available in the homes of people who are aged, ill or convalescing.
Programs that support the purchase of case management and other home and community based services as a means of helping people avoid premature institutionalization. Funding is usually through provincial and local resources, but may also include some federal dollars. The programs typically provide case management and, unless other funding sources are available, provide funding for and link program participants to existing home and community based services, home modification programs, assistive technology equipment, assisted living facilities or other supported housing options, and/or other needed services. Individuals must meet certain eligibility criteria as specified by the program and usually must have documentation from a physician stating that they are at risk for institutionalization.
Programs that provide benefits screening services which help individuals determine whether they are eligible for benefits through any of a wide variety of public and private federal, provincial and local programs. In addition to identifying the benefits that a person may be eligible to receive, the service also provides a detailed description of the programs, local contacts for additional information (typically the addresses and phone numbers of where to apply for the programs), and materials to help successfully apply for each program. Some benefits screening programs may focus on specific populations such as older adults and people with disabilities.
Programs that develop plans for the evaluation, treatment and/or care of individuals who, because of age, illness, disability or other difficulties, need assistance in planning and arranging for services; which assess the individual's needs; coordinate the delivery of needed services; ensure that services are obtained in accordance with the case plan; and follow up and monitor progress to ensure that services are having a beneficial impact on the individual. Case management is a collaborative process characterized by communication, advocacy and resource management to promote high quality, cost-effective interventions and outcomes.
Programs that maintain information about community resources that are appropriate for a specific target group or human services sector (for example, youth programs or addiction services) and which link individuals who are in need of specialized services with appropriate resources and/or which provide information about community agencies and organizations that offer specialized services.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.