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    Offering Personal & Family Support Services since 2005

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PRIVATE vs. AGENCY At-Home Care

Before making in-home care decisions for your loved ones, it pays to investigate how you structure these services. Using an Agency vs. Private contracted care can save the client and their family a lot of money and head-ache in the long run. Here's a story that demonstrates how bad a private contract situation can get.

An industry colleague recently called me looking for some advice from one professional to another. An adult daughter who was going through the process of obtaining a Power of Attorney authorization for her father and moving him to a Long Term Care (LTC) facility, was having some challenges with terminating his long time in-home care provider.

The father had become confused and with the onset of possible dementia the family had finalized arrangements to place him in Long Term Care.The father had been widowed for 5 years and during the year prior to his wife's passing, he had arranged for a Personal Support Worker PSW to come in to the home to provide assistance to his wife.  Over time, the PSW became heavily relied upon, regularly working 40 plus hours a week. Shortly after the passing of his wife, the father asked the same worker to return for a few hours a day, which within a few weeks, again returned to full time employment. This resulted in an eleven plus year Employer/Employee relationship, with the PSW very dedicated to this family.

With the father now entering a LTC facility the family had to advise the long time PSW that their employment had come to an end.  The worker filed a complaint with labour standards, seeking termination pay, as well as unemployment insurance, compensation for retroactive public holidays and vacation pay from the past 11 years. Essentially creating a bit of a challenging situation for the family to now deal with.

I advised my colleague that unfortunately, it would now be best for the family to seek advice from a good employment lawyer. The PSW has rights under Employment Standards Act

Why choosing an Agency Homecare Service Provider can actually SAVE you and your family money:

When the question of getting some ‘top up’ in home support for failing parents comes up, at first glance it can appear to be cheaper to hire someone directly as an Independent Contractor.  This can work if you are savvy enough to understand employment legislation, create a contract, and don’t mind spending your time managing them, or sacrificing your own plans to step in when that worker calls in sick, goes on vacation or resigns.

If that worker enters into full time employment however, to the extent they are working full time, ESA (Employment Standards) may view the Employment relationship through a different lens.  If the worker states they were employed full time, it could be deemed that the worker was a ‘wholly dependent contractor’ or a direct employee, regardless of what your contract states. In addition, the family/estate could be obligated to pay the worker not just termination pay, but retroactive EI contributions, CPP etc. with penalties and interest paid not just to the worker, but also to CRA. This could amount to a tidy sum.

Using a Home Care Agency can initially seem more expensive, but by accessing available Government credits (Disability Tax Credit, etc.) the cost of care can be offset by as much as 32%. Other tax credits can further reduce the cost down to about $20/hr  to hire a team of bonded and insured, professional home support workers.  

The extra peace of mind that an Agency also offers is that the staff who are caring for your loved ones are employees of the Agency and there would be no additional financial obligation to you should the services be terminated. And no interruption in services for sick-leave or vacation makes it easy to manage.

Contact me to learn more, we offer free consultation to help you source the right at-home care for you and your family.

I'm so proud of our team here at Lifeguard Homecare - providing peace of mind to so many families in our community by delivering reliable, compassionate and professional care.  Thank you for your service!

 

Heidi Wilmot Smith
President, Lifeguard Homecare Inc. 

‘Your referral is the greatest compliment’


LIFEGUARD HOMECARE - PRIVATE HOME CARE SUPPORT - KNOW YOUR RIGHTS - July 6, 2022

Since 2004, Lifeguard Homecare has helped fill the gap in our local healthcare system by providing workers in various settings, including private homes, retirement homes, long term care facilities and hospitals.


The Covid-19 Pandemic caused us to rethink and remodel the delivery of our health care services back into private homes, as congregant settings were perceived to be riskier for our staff and clients.


The vast majority of our clients are elderly and want to remain living in the comfort of their own home. Our professional staff, many of whom have spent years working in facilities, like the slower pace of home care and like knowing they are making a real difference supporting their clients in their goal to remain living independently.


The pandemic revealed the ‘Achilles heel’ in our health care system, particularly as it relates to infection control in congregant settings. It is impossible to keep residents in these facilities (Hospitals, LTC and retirement homes) safe when a pandemic is impacting the workforce resources in the greater community, including the nurses and their supporting workers they rely on, when those staff become infected.


The Pandemic also revealed legislative conflict. For example: Legislation designed to protect the safety of the elderly in LTC became useless when the workers at these locations refused to go to work. They had the right to refuse unsafe work because of the fear of Covid 19. Even LTC inspectors stopped physical in person inspections, instead making phone calls to the facilities because of their right to refuse unsafe work. The system collapsed in numerous facilities with many residents and some workers succumbing to the virus. This resulted in the Canadian military coming in to provide relief.
Families of these vulnerable residents felt the system had abandoned them. Leaving them with no control. Day after day without updates on their family members from the LTC homes and we all remember the heart breaking stories on the media that raised anxiety even further across the nation for all families with loved-ones in facilities.


Government legislation stops at the front door of your home. Most of the public does not realize that Government Legislation that applies to congregant settings often doesn’t apply to private home care setting. This means that the arm of Government legislation cannot cross your front door. Here are some examples:


Ontario Human Rights legislation, Occupational Health and Safety legislation and Employment Standards that all apply to standard workplaces in Ontario all stop at your front door. This means that you can reject anyone for any reason whatsoever. If you don’t want them, you don’t have to justify your reasons to anyone. This rule applies to HNHB, formerly LHIN, funded support services or privately paid home support services.
In summary, your home is not only your ‘Castle’, from the perspective of home care services, you remain totally in control over how your services are delivered, and by whom.


Contact us to learn more about how we deliver medical and non-medical services in a private home setting. We offer free consultation to help you with budgeting and employ a large full-time staff who are dedicated to our Lifeguard Homecare clients and are salaried, bonded professionals. #RN #RPN #PSW #HSW #DSW


Heidi Wilmot-Smith
President


ONTARIO GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE ANNOUNCED FOR HOME CARE - MAY 19, 2022

Thinking about care for your aging family members? Recently there has been much discussion in the news about congregant (group living) settings for the seniors , mostly related to pandemic issues involving Long Term Care LTC and Retirement home residences. At the core of some of the issues has been and continues to be, a shortage of health care workers, especially Nurses and Personal Support Workers - PSWs. The Ontario Government recently issued a press release, announcing they are making more funds available for #homecare in an effort to address the ongoing problems in LTC and Retirement homes.

On April 1, 2021, the Local Health Integration Networks LHINs transferred into Ontario Health and are now operating under a new business name, 'Home and Community Care Support Services', HCCSS. Their function is to help ease the flow of patients across the health care system and improve their access to services in their community, including long term senior care.

What is the difference between LTC Homes and Retirement Homes? And what options best meet yours or your family members need?

Retirement Homes are classified as ‘independent living’ even though they are in a congregant setting. They provide rental accommodation and meals with additional care and services, such as medication administration, meal delivery and laundry services, available to residents at an extra cost. The monthly fees can be $3000-$6000 or more and families typically source placement and availability on their own. The HCCSS is not usually involved in placement, and a family can take a tour and decide if a particular residence fits their unique needs and budget.

Long Term Care Facilities are subsidized and regulated by the government, LTC placements are managed by the HCCSS. An HCCSS case manager determines if an individuals unique care and medical requirements qualifies them to access a residential placement. The monthly fees include nursing and medical management, meals, accommodation, and a variety of recreational activities. Depending on the reputation of the facility, there can be lengthy wait lists of up to 2 years for rooms, either private, semi private or wards. Fees can vary based on’ ability to pay’ up to approximately 2500.00 monthly.
The pandemic revealed the vulnerability of our Retirement Home and LTC residence system. Staff providing support to residents became unwitting carriers of the virus to the residents, and as staff fell ill, there were few left to come in and provide the care, so the elderly became not only victims of the virus, but suffered when their caregivers became too ill to provide the basic necessities of care.

More and more seniors are opting to remain living in the comfort of their own home with help from an organization like Lifeguard Homecare to provide medical and non-medical services. Home care options help seniors remain living independently while getting the best of care from a team of professionals when and as needed. Our RNs and RPNs are experienced in working with dementia and Alzheimer's patients as are our PSW. DSW and HSW workers. All of our staff are full time, bonded employees so we are able to deliver consistent services and peace of mind to our clients.??

If you are considering at home care options for you or a loved one, make Lifeguard Homecare your first call to learn more about how we can help.


Heidi Wilmot-Smith
President