Making the move: Private vs. public – What’s the difference?

by Matt Del Vecchio

One of the most common questions I get is “What’s the difference between a private and a public residence?”

It can be confusing and frustrating to navigate our healthcare system — particularly under emotional circumstances when you or a loved one can no longer live at home.

Private Residences

The senior living industry is rapidly evolving. Competition is increasing and new construction is underway throughout the province. As a result, there are more choices and greater service offerings.

The private sector offers Independent Living, Assisted Living (usually up to a maximum of 3 hours of care per day) and Memory Care. Some residences offer all three levels of care. In addition, Quebec is one of the few provinces in Canada that offers private options for long term care.

They are known as Centres d’hébergement et de soins de longue durée (CHSLD). In Quebec, there are more than 2,000 registered private residences. The Ministry of Health and Social Services oversees certification and monitors operating standards.

Most Quebecers living in a certified private senior residence are eligible for the Tax Credit for Home-Support Services for Seniors.

This amounts to approximately 10%-15% of your monthly rent depending on the amount of services and meals provided. Benefits of private residences include shorter waiting times, geographic convenience, care services and in the case of Independent Living, full kitchens and 1 or 2 bedroom options.

Public Residences

A public residence in Quebec is also supervised by the Ministry of Health and Social Services. It has established that a person with diminished autonomy due to aging or a physical or mental impairment may be admitted to a long-term care centre or an intermediate resource.

A CHSLD accommodates, temporarily or permanently, adults experiencing a loss of functional or psychosocial independence who can no longer live at home in spite of support from family and friends.

An intermediate resource accommodates persons experiencing a loss of independence or whose condition requires bed, board, and support or assistance services. To get into a public residence, one needs to be assessed through a local CLSC.

The assessment establishes care needs and determines if the person qualifies for permanent placement. Placement is based on priority level, not a first come first served basis.

The waiting list can range from several months to several years. In most cases, a person can choose their desired residence for permanent placement.

Once a room becomes available, you have 24-36 hours to move in. During the waiting period, the person is placed in a transition bed in a long-term care residence. A CLSC social worker will work with the family to find a transition bed in a convenient geographical location; however, the choice is often based on when a bed becomes available whatever its location.

It is not uncommon to be transferred to multiple transition beds while waiting for a permanent CHSLD bed. Reach out to your local CLSC to explore public options.

Should you wish to pursue a private residence for your loved one, tap into industry specialists who often provide their services at no charge to the client. The residences pay commission.

Matt Del Vecchio is the owner of Lianas Services Senior Transition Support and host of Life Unrehearsed on CJAD800 Sundays at 4pm.

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