Getting support for your aging parent after discharge from hospital

November 22, 2022

If you have an aging parent in an Ontario hospital, you may be worried about how they’ll cope at home after their discharge. You want to make sure there’s adequate support for them. The trouble is that, with hospitals running at (or beyond) capacity, there may be a lot of pressure on you to get them home quickly.

This can leave you scrambling, especially if you’re not familiar with what home and community support services are available where they live.

Here’s a quick overview of relevant government-funded supports.

Home and Community Care Support Services (HCCSS) is the name of the agency that coordinates access to home health care in the province. HCCSS can often assess your parent while they’re still in hospital to determine whether they’re eligible to receive services from home health care professionals (nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech language therapy, social work, dietetics, and home health care supplies) or personal support services.

Services are arranged by a HCCSS care coordinator but provided by a contracted home health care provider.

Although home health care can make a big difference, there are limits on the amount of government-funded service your parent can receive through HCCSS. Depending on their needs, you may choose to pay for additional “top-up” services through a home health care provider.

There are also a wide variety of government-subsidized community support services that may be helpful for your parent. They include

  • Adult day programs
  • Community paramedicine programs
  • Foot care
  • Friendly visiting
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Congregate dining programs
  • Telephone reassurance and safety checks
  • Volunteer transportation services

A full list can be found at

Your parent may have to pay a fee for some of these programs. 

In some parts of the province, access to community support services is coordinated by a single organization. This arrangement is meant to reduce the number of calls you or your parent need to make to individual agencies.

Nurse helping senior man out of chair
If you’re involved in arranging services for your parent, sorting through everything can feel like a full-time job.

The limitations of existing in-home and community services

It can be complicated to navigate the many different programs available. Each one has its own eligibility criteria. And some may be oversubscribed. For in-home services, staff shortages may mean that appointments are rescheduled or cancelled without much warning. If you’re involved in arranging services for your parent, sorting through all this can sometimes feel like a full-time job.

If your parent isn’t able to return home

It may be that your parent will have a hard time returning home in their current condition. If that’s the case, you’ll need to consider alternatives. One of these alternatives might be a move to a retirement home either on a permanent or convalescent basis. 

You may only have a short time to explore this option. If your parent is in an Ottawa hospital, we can help. We know what vacancies are available in Ottawa area retirement homes and can help you quickly find a match for your parent.

Conducting the search process yourself – research, calls, and touring – could take up to 80+ hours, time you may not have. Getting us involved can reduce information overload, confusion, and stress.

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