Help where you need it

Some activities, for some people with spinal cord injury, require extra help. This shouldn't interfere with your goal to live as independently as possible, but it can mean finding personal care by professional attendants that you trust, in your home, your workplace or at school.

An attendant helping his client exercise in her wheelchair.

In Ontario there are a few avenues to access personal care services:

» Home And Community Care Support Services (HCCSS)

HCCSS provides personal support worker services to assist with basic care tasks. Other services may be provided depending on need including nursing, occupational therapy, speech therapy, physiotherapy, respiratory therapy, social work and nutritional counselling services.  Typically services are available immediately upon request after an assessment has been completed. The cost of services is covered through OHIP.

» Outreach Attendant Care

Attendant services include bathing and washing, personal grooming and hygiene, dressing/undressing, toileting, transferring and positioning, meal preparation, assistance with eating, essential communications, light housekeeping, nurturing assistance. The consumer takes responsibility for the decisions and training  involved in his/her own assistance.  The consumer must be able to direct his/her own care.  Typically there is a wait-time for services which varies depending on which region you live in.  Cost of service is covered through OHIP.

» Family-Managed Home Care

Intended to provide more choice and flexibility over service delivery to eligible clients and families. Through the program, eligible clients, or their substitute decision-makers, will receive funding that they can use to purchase home care services or employ care providers set out in the client’s care plan. The four eligible client groups are:

  1. Children with complex medical needs;
  2. Adults with acquired brain injuries (ABI);
  3. Eligible home-schooled children; and
  4. Clients in extraordinary circumstances – as assessed by HCCSS.Supportive Housing/Supportive Service Living Units. SSLUs offer accessible apartments that are typically integrated into larger apartment buildings. Attendant Services are available on a pre-scheduled and on-call basis. Most SSLU projects have both subsidized and market rent apartments available. Typically there is a wait list of varying timeframes.  The cost of care is covered through OHIP.

» Direct Funding

Direct Funding is an alternative to HCCSS services, outreach attendant care, and supportive housing. Direct Funding enables adults with a physical disability to hire their own attendants. The consumer must be able to function as an employer and manager. This means taking responsibility for interviewing, hiring, training and if necessary firing attendants as well as for handling finances and communication with the direct funding program. The cost for this program is funded through OHIP. Typically there is a wait for this service.

Extended Health Care Benefits

Some extended health care plans include funds for personal support worker services and/or nursing services. Check with your plan provider to determine if this is provided and what the parameters of this service are.

Subsidized Homemaking Services

Most regions have a subsidized homemaking service program, or offer homemaking services for free to seniors and persons with disabilities. Eligibility, availability and wait-list for these programs varies across the province.

Speak to your HCCSS Care Coordinator, your social worker, or your SCIO Regional Service Coordinator to assist in finding out what programs exist in your region.