Access to home care support is a national issue with different provincial solutions seeking to allow more people in need of care to access support services in the comfort of their homes. Newfoundland and Labrador Paid Family Caregiving Option is charting a new course to enhance long term care and community support services by offering persons in need of care the option to hire and pay a family member to provide the essential service. No such initiative has yet been implemented anywhere in Canada.
Through an investment of $ 8.2 million within 18 months, this program will provide up to 250 subsidies to seniors and adults with disabilities to hire family members including parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and other family members residing in the same home to act as a paid caregiver. Unfortunately, the family caregiver eligibility definition is too narrow. It excludes spouses and common law partners on the expectation that the natural caregiving roles provided by these individuals will continue. Health and Community Services Minister Susan Sullivan said that this option is designed to provide clients with enhanced choice while maintaining existing informal caregiving relationships.
– Be a new client to one of the Adult Home Support Programs and have not received any service or have been without service for over one year
– Have a long-term need for home support subsidy
– Meet the eligibility requirements for publicly funded home support services as outlined in the Provincial Home Support Program Operational Standards (2005) and Adults with Disability Home Support Program or the Seniors Home Support Program
Eligibility for the program is determined by the criteria outlined above along with financial and medical assessments. By examining personal needs, it is then decided how much time will be needed for the types of services performed by the paid family caregiver. The program participant would be given funding to pay the family caregiver directly, with the intent to reduce administrative costs and allow greater flexibility and autonomy for participants in making decisions about their own care.
Generally, the program supports up to 5 hours a day of personal and behavioral support, with up to 1 hour a day to be used for meal preparation and up to 2 hours a week for homemaking activities such as laundry. Care recipients and the designated caregiver are required to meet the remaining needs of the participant without payment. Under the Paid Family Caregiving Option, respite care may be considered if there is no other person available to provide the designated caregiver with a break.
Participants in this program are visited by case managers who monitor care outcomes. Assessments that reveal a decline in clients well-being may result in more assessments or termination of participation. Important to note that this program is still in its infancy stages and its progress and effectiveness is yet to be examined, nonetheless it is an initiative that seeks to increase access to care by providing financial support for caregivers a cause for which CARP has long been advocating.
There are over 8 million informal caregivers in Canada providing care to family members or friends with chronic conditions, disabilities and other health needs. Informal caregivers are unpaid caregivers that provide critical support and care that allows Canadians to recover from illness and age at home.
CARP is calling on governments to take a comprehensive approach to providing greater supports for caregivers, recognizing the value caregivers provide to family and friends and the formal health care system. CARP’s recommendations include increasing income support, providing respite care, job protection for caregivers and creating adequate support services and training.
October 15, 2014