If you become ill and you think that you will not be able to continue to live in your home or to return to your home after treatment, you will need to think about moving somewhere to get the care you need.
There are different options, including Supportive Housing, Care Homes/Retirement Homes, Long-Term Care Homes and Hospices. However, there may be long waiting lists. Long-term care homes and hospices may also provide “short stays” while your caregiver is away or while you recover. Your Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) may help you to find out about your housing and care options. You can find your LHIN by calling 310-2222 toll-free from anywhere in Ontario or at http://healthcareathome.ca/.
You can contact your local AIDS Service Organization (ASO) for more information about housing options in your community. Please see our HIV info section for information about ASOs.
Please see Getting legal help below for information about getting legal advice in Ontario.
If you are able to live on your own, but you need some care, such as homemaking or personal care, then you may decide to live in “Supportive Housing”. Supportive housing is usually in self-contained rental units within a building, but there are also small group residences.
Municipal governments and non-profit groups operate supportive housing services. The types of accommodations, services, costs, and the availability of government subsidies depend on the building or location. The services might include on-site personal care and support, including:
- personal hygiene, dressing and bathing
- housekeeping and laundry
- daily visits or phone check-ins, and
- shopping, meals, and transportation help.
In supportive housing, you pay the rent for your unit. Some services may be paid for by the government, while you may pay for other services yourself. The care arrangements between you and the supportive housing provider are usually in a written contract or agreement. The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) is the law that applies to most rental housing in Ontario, including most supportive housing units. There is also temporary supportive housing, sometimes called “transitional housing” that has different rules.
Care Homes (Retirement Homes)
If you live in a home where you pay the landlord for your room or apartment, and for care services, you live in a “Care Home” or “Retirement Home”, sometimes called an “Assisted Living” home. The Ontario Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) calls these homes “Care Homes”. The RTA gives tenants in care homes the same rights and obligations as other tenants in Ontario, but with a few important exceptions (see our Rental Housing section). The Retirement Homes Act has rules and standards for most retirement homes, including the requirement that a retirement home have a license to operate. For more information about care homes/retirement homes, please see:
- Care Homes booklet from Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) is available on-line and in print: www.cleo.on.ca/en/publications/carehome.
- Retirement Homes Introduction on the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly website: www.acelaw.ca/retirement_homes_-_introduction.php.
Long-Term Care Homes
“Long-Term Care Homes” are sometimes called nursing homes or homes for the aged. Long-term care homes are for people who require 24-hour nursing care or supervision. The Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 is the law for long-term care homes in Ontario.
Applications for admission to long-term care homes are made through your Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). You can find your local LHIN by calling 310-2222 toll-free from anywhere in Ontario or on the internet at: http://healthcareathome.ca/.
You have the right to decide which long-term care homes you apply to, and you may apply to up to five homes at a time. You cannot be forced to go to a long-term care home without your consent. If you are not mentally capable, then your Substitute Decision-Maker will make the decision for you about admission into a long term care home. (For more information about Substitute Decision-Makers, see Powers of Attorney in our Powers of Attorney and Wills section).
The provincial government pays for the cost of providing nursing, personal care and food, as well as programs and support services, in long-term care homes. You pay only for your accommodation. If you want a semi-private or private room, also called preferred accommodation, you will have to pay an extra amount. The government sets the maximum amounts that you can be asked to pay each month to live in a long-term care home, whether it is a basic room or preferred accommodation. There are other rules that you should know about if you are considering preferred accommodation, including what will happen if you are no longer able to pay the extra fee.
A long-term care home cannot refuse to accept you based on your income or ability to pay. Once you are admitted into a long-term care home, you cannot be asked to leave or be evicted because your income changes. Your Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) can help you with long-term care issues. You can find your LHIN by calling 310-2222 toll-free from anywhere in Ontario or on the internet at: http://healthcareathome.ca/.
You can find more information about Long-Term Care Homes at:
- Every Resident: Bill of Rights for people who live in Ontario long-term care homes available from Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) on-line and in print: www.cleo.on.ca/en/publications/everyres.
- Long-Term Care Homes Introduction on the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly website: www.acelaw.ca/long-term_care_homes_-_introduction.php.
Hospices provide care services for people who are seriously ill or who may be approaching death. Hospices are usually not-for-profit organizations with staff and/or volunteers who provide free services to individuals and their loved ones. Hospice services may be provided in the hospice or in the community. Depending on the hospice, you may stay in a hospice or you may receive hospice services in your home, a hospital, a long-term care home or another facility. Hospices may assist with medical needs, personal supports, spiritual/faith support, grief and bereavement supports, planning for end of life, etc. Hospices may also provide “short stays” while your caregiver is away or while you recover.
You can get more information about hospices from the Hospice Palliative Care Ontario website: www.hpco.ca/.
Your Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) may help you to find hospice care in your community. You can find your LHIN by calling 310-2222 toll-free from anywhere in Ontario or on the internet at: http://healthcareathome.ca/.
Getting legal help
The law can be very complicated, so if you have a question or problem, we recommend that you get legal advice about your situation:
- People living with HIV in Ontario can contact us about any legal issue.
- You can contact your local community legal clinic to find out about services in your community. You can find your local community legal clinic as well as specialty legal clinics using the Legal Aid Ontario website: https://www.legalaid.on.ca/services/legal-clinics/.