Community Care Action Centres (CCACs) are funded by the Ontario government’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and were originally created in 1996 to help people access Ontario’s government-funded community services and long-term care homes.
Anyone who needs any of these services must apply to the CCAC in the area where they live. Read more about how to make the most of CCACs and how to reduce their wait times.
In Ontario, there are 14 CCACs that provide care services like homemaking, medical nursing care, personal support and rehabilitation to eligible people, mostly seniors. These CCACs are often the first point of contact for seniors who have been discharged from hospital.
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However, as CARP points out, many seniors experience “difficulty in securing timely home care services for themselves or their loved ones.” The reasons for these wait times are complex, and as the Toronto Star shares, include issues with funding as well as labour disputes and other problems which have threatened the continuation of the CCAC program.
Still, CCACs exist and the reality is that while the government tries to improve the system, depending on where you live, the wait for your local CCAC can be frustratingly long. Here are some ways you can reduce your CCAC wait times:
Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) are community-based, non-profit organizations funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to plan, fund and coordinate services delivered by Ontario:
CCACs are one of the entry points to Ontario’s government-funded long-term care homes. Different long-term facilities across the province have different wait times, but they all use the same system to split applicants into seven categories.
These categories move from highest priority (Category 1) to lowest priority (Category 4b). Familiarizing yourself with these categories and which one you likely to fall into can help you anticipate the amount of time you may have to wait for a spot in a long-term care community.
Category 1 includes:
Category 2 includes:
Category 3A includes:
Category 3B includes:
Category 4A includes:
Category 4B includes:
Case managers are CCAC staff who decide who is eligible for services. They also:
Talk to your case manager about the services that you’re eligible for and ask about the anticipated wait time. They may not have an answer about your application, but at the very least they can give you an update on where your application is at.
Having CCAC come into your home to evaluate your needs doesn’t have to be put off until a crisis happens. For example, a Personal Support Worker (PSW) can help with light housekeeping or bathing once a week, and as your needs grow you’ll already have a case worker on hand to ensure you get the help you need in a timely manner.
There will be a wait involved for the CCAC evaluation, but if you’re not in a crisis situation that wait will feel more reasonable and won’t be so stressful.
Many people are understandably reluctant to have someone come into their home to help, or to consider leaving their home to enter long-term care. It is important to remember that your parents and grandparents still have the right to make the call to CCAC for themselves (unless they are legally incapable of doing so, or you have Power of Attorney).
Respecting their wishes is a must, but it does not hurt to encourage them to think ahead, and to help them avoid waiting until they’re in a crisis situation to call CCAC.
What has your experience with CCACs been like? What CCAC wait time tips do you have to share? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below.