Health care and residences for the elderly

February 15, 2011 by Martine Rodrigue
Health care and residences for the elderlyIn Québec, seniors’ residences offer the elderly a wide range of services geared to providing comfort and security; they guarantee an attentive, friendly and dedicated staff. The benefits and services provided by these residences are showcased in their advertisements.

The Regulation* respecting the conditions for obtaining a certificate of compliance for a residence for the elderly has applied since 2007, and compliance is verified by the Conseil québécois d’agrément. The certificate is issued by the Agence de la santé et des services sociaux in the region where the residence is located.

A certified residence does, however, remain a private enterprise, and in this sector, it’s quite common to see major disparities from one residence to the next. Some certified establishments offer a range of services to meet the needs of autonomous seniors and those experiencing a slight loss of autonomy. Often, the rent is all-inclusive. Services can also be tailored to an individual’s needs.

Other residences offer a more extensive array of services including health care or personalized assistance billed à la carte or as part of a package. The government does not interfere in such polices, which are at the exclusive discretion of each residence. Of course, some care and treatment must be provided by authorized professionals, but they are employed by the residence. This would include, for example, the services normally provided by licensed nursing staff.

Given the wide variety of services and scenarios available, future clients need to ensure they have all the necessary information. Any decision to sign a contract with a residence that has an opening should be based on a careful examination of the client’s needs and ability to pay—all the more so if the individual’s financial resources are modest, yet his or her specific care requirements are substantial.

Conducting a neutral and objec-tive assessment of care requirements is essential for any senior experi-encing a loss of autonomy. This step in preparing for a move into a private seniors’ residence can be facilitated by addressing your CLSC or talking to your social worker, if you have an open case file.

Having a detailed list of the care and services required is a must to be able to “shop around” for an appropriate residence. Every service rendered is billed either by the act, minute, hour, or month. If a person’s needs are overestimated or underestimated, major financial concerns may ensue.

We should consider ourselves “consumers” as far as seniors’ residence service offers are concerned, and an informed consumer is responsible for carefully reading and understanding a contract prior to its signature. And that goes for consumers of all ages! So it makes sense to ask for all the necessary information and material, particularly the list of services available (à la carte or package) at the residence and their prices, even if some of these services might not be necessary immediately upon arrival. No lease should be signed without first taking the time to read through all the documentation. If need be, take along someone you trust in these matters.

Would you like to find out more about the Regulation respecting the conditions for obtaining a certificate of compliance for a residence for the elderly? Visit Québec’s Santé et Services sociaux Web site.
*Some changes were made to the process in February 2010.

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