Free senior care in Toronto Ontario

Accessing OHIP-funded senior care through Home and Community Care Support Services

In Toronto, families seeking to ensure the well-being and quality of life for their elderly loved ones often turn to a combination of government-provided services and family-funded care options. Among the key resources available to them is the provincially funded Home and Community Care Support Services (HCCSS) in Ontario. In this article we explore how HCCSS supports families in Toronto and how Home Instead complements these services.

Understanding Home and Community Care Support Services (HCCSS)

Home and Community Care Support Services (HCCSS) provides free care and support to seniors and other individuals with complex needs, enabling them to live independently and safely in their own homes. The services offered by HCCSS are designed to help manage health conditions, recover from surgery or illness, and maintain overall well-being. Their services include:

HCCSS Home Care Services

Personal Support: Personal support workers (PSW) assist with daily activities like bathing, dressing, and mobility.

Nursing Care: Nurses visit homes to provide medical care, such as wound management, medication administration, and chronic disease management.

Therapeutic Services: Occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and speech-language pathologists offer rehabilitation services to help seniors regain and maintain their independence.

Limitations of Home and Community Care Support Services (HCCSS)

While HCCSS offers some essential services, there are certain limitations:

1. Short Visit Duration: The care provided is typically limited to about one hour per visit. Care providers are task-oriented and so will visit the client’s home to complete a specific task, such as a shower, and then leave immediately after. One may be assessed to receive PSW care twice a week for an hour, for example, however, this may not be enough for the changing needs of a senior.

2. Lack of Continuity: A different care provider will likely show up each time, making it difficult to build a relationship or ensure consistent health monitoring.

3. Limited Interaction: With the short and task-specific nature of visits, there is often little time for meaningful interaction.

Despite its limitations, the free services provided to seniors by Home and Community Care Support Services is a great resource for those in Ontario with an OHIP card. Many of the clients we serve at Home Instead are utilizing these services and augment their care through our agency.

HST-exemption for Care Services Paid out of Pocket

Another benefit of accessing HCCSS support is that once you or your loved one is in the system and receiving PSW care, they will be eligible for HST-exemption on senior care services paid out of pocket. This means that your family will save 13% tax typically paid for private senior care services.

How to Access HCCSS

If you believe that you or a loved one might benefit from HCCSS, the first step is to reach out to your local HCCSS organization.

1. Contact Home and Community Care Support Services at 310-2222 (no area code required).

2. Discuss your needs with a case manager or care coordinator, who will make an initial assessment of your needs and eligibility for services. This may involve a home visit to better understand your situation.

Based on your needs and available community services, the case manager or care coordinator will determine your eligibility for government-funded home care services. If eligible, a personalized home care plan will be created, considering your preferences, including ethnic, spiritual, linguistic, familial, and cultural factors. Care is provided either through HCCSS staff or one of its service provider organizations (VHA, Bayshore, Paramed, among others), with schedules arranged to meet your needs.

If you do not qualify for government-funded services, HCCSS may refer you to other resources that better suit your needs. If you disagree with an eligibility decision, there are avenues for appeal through the Ontario Health Services Appeal and Review Board.

How Home Instead Complements HCCSS

Home Instead services are designed to complement those provided by HCCSS, offering additional support and flexibility to meet the unique needs of each client.

Home Instead specializes in providing in-home care for seniors, including:

  • Personal Care: Assistance with bathing, dressing, incontinence management, and mobility support.
  • Companionship: Engaging seniors in meaningful activities and conversations.
  • Meal Preparation: Ensuring healthy meals are prepared and dietary needs are met.
  • Medication Reminders: Helping seniors remember to take their medications on time.
  • Accompaniment to Appointments: Assisting seniors in attending medical and other appointments.
  • Grocery Shopping and Light Housekeeping: Helping with shopping and maintaining a clean home environment.

Our Caregivers, Personal Support Workers, and foreign trained Nurses are chosen for their compassionate nature and undergo comprehensive safety training. They are employees of Home Instead, bonded and insured, providing peace of mind to our clients and their families. Our caregivers are also trained in Alzheimer’s and dementia care, skilled in implementing strategies to reduce behavioral symptoms, encourage engagement, maintain safety, and provide reassurance.

Personalized Care Plans and Compatibility

Home Instead understands the importance of compatibility between clients and caregivers. We offer a complimentary, non-binding care consultation with a Registered Nurse to identify care options and create a personalized care plan. This consultation helps match the most suitable caregiver to the client based on personality and care needs.

Advantages of Working with Home Instead for Your Care Needs

1. Nursing-led Supervision and Support: Ongoing supervision and support from nurse managers ensure the care plan is followed accurately and adopted to the changing needs of clients.

2. Backup and Emergency Support: A team of professionals are available for emergencies, ensuring continuous care. Caregivers have access to a registered Nurse who can provide direction and clarification to questions that may arise. Our services are tailored to changing care needs and schedules.

3. Meaningful Relationships: Home Instead ensures that a dedicated caregiver visits the client regularly, allowing for the development of a meaningful relationship and consistent health monitoring.

4. Peace of Mind: Professional and reliable care allows family members to focus on other aspects of their lives.

5. Professional and Trained Caregivers: Comprehensive training ensures caregivers are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge.

6. Screening and Background Checks: Ensuring client safety through thorough vetting of caregivers.

7. Bonded and Insured: Added protection for clients through liability insurance.

8. Regulatory Compliance: Adherence to local regulations and industry standards, including ISO certification.

Collaboration with HCCSS

Home Instead collaborates with HCCSS to provide seamless transitions for clients discharged from hospitals and in need of in-home care. We coordinate with HCCSS coordinators and other healthcare providers to ensure comprehensive and continuous care, including for clients in retirement residences or those awaiting long-term care placement.


By leveraging the services provided by the province with the personalized, flexible care offered by Home Instead, families in Toronto can ensure their elderly loved ones receive the highest quality of care. The collaboration between HCCSS and Home Instead creates a supportive and nurturing environment for seniors, allowing them to live independently and with dignity in their own homes.

For more information or to schedule a complementary consultation, please contact Home Instead’s Toronto office at 416-972-5096.