Home care services in Ontario are publicly funded; however, not everyone qualifies, and for those that do qualify, they might not receive the amount of care that they need. In these situations, you might consider paying privately for home care services from a home care agency. But how much does private home care cost in Ontario? This guide will help explain the different services offered, and provide a complete breakdown of their costs.
- Background on Home Care in Ontario
- Publicly Funded Home Care in Ontario
- Private Home Care Costs in Ontario
i) Personal Support
ii) Home Support
v) Occupational Therapy
vi) Speech-Language Pathology
viii) Social Work
- Paying Options for Private Home Care in Ontario
i) Financial Support
ii) Private Insurance
iii) Workplace Benefits
iv) Out of Pocket
- Summary of Pricing and Paying Options
Background on Home Care in Ontario
In the fiscal year 2016/17, approximately 760,000 people received home care services funded by the Ontario government. The total amount of funding to provide these services was $2.7 billion—this represents a 56% increase in funding and 30% increase in the number of clients compared to 2008/09, according to Office of the Auditor General of Ontario.
However, it seems that even $2.7 billion worth of care is still not enough for Ontario residents. According to an estimate from Home Care Ontario, over 150,000 Ontario citizens purchase an additional 20 million visits or hours of home care services annually in order to remain at home.
Publicly Funded Home Care in Ontario
Ontario offers a variety of publicly funded home care services, including:
- Personal Support
- Home Support
- Occupational Therapy
- Speech-Language Pathology
- Social Work
Publicly funded home care in Ontario is regulated through the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs). There are 14 LHINs in Ontario categorized by geography. If you’re not sure which LHIN you belong to, you can enter your postal code and check here.
If you or your loved ones need assistance at home and are interesting in publicly funded home care, it’s best to contact your LHIN and find out if you are eligible for publicly funded care. Check out our guide “Healthcare for Seniors in Ontario: It’s More Affordable Than You Think” for the steps needed to receive publicly funded home care.
Private Home Care Costs in Ontario
In addition to publicly funded home care, you can choose to have private home care services. Private home care is common for individuals that don’t qualify for publicly funded home care, or would like to receive additional care on top of the current care plan.
Although some home care agencies in Ontario make their pricing publicly available, oftentimes you will need to directly contact the agency to get a rate. Below are some of the general costs for private home care services in Ontario, categorized by service.
*Please note that the pricing listed below is only an estimate, and costs will differ depending on the home care organization.
Personal Support Costs in Ontario
Personal Support provides individuals with their everyday living tasks such as bathing, eating, dressing, and more. Generally, a Personal Support Worker (PSW) is professionally trained so that they can provide people with the following services:
- Bathing and grooming
- Getting dressed
- Light housekeeping and laundry
- Meal planning and preparation
- Medication reminders
- Watchful companionship
- Escorting to medical appointments and social events
The rate for hiring a PSW in Ontario from a home care agency falls between $28 and $35 per hour. Some agencies may require a minimum number of hours per visit, and some may also offer discounts if you would like to hire a PSW for more than a certain number of hours.
Home Support Costs in Ontario
The main difference between Home Support and Personal Support is that a Home Support Worker (HSW) is not allowed to initiate physical contact with clients. The nature of the work provided by Home Support Workers and Personal Support Workers is very similar, however Home Support Workers do not assist clients with personal daily living activities like dressing, eating or bathing.
Home Support Workers will generally cost less than Personal Support Workers. The rate of a Home Support Worker is often between $24 to $33 per hour. Again, some agencies may require a minimum number of hours per visit, and the hourly rate may decrease in this case.
Nursing Costs in Ontario
If you’re ill, disabled, injured, or not at optimal health, you may benefit from nursing care. Nurses will assess and monitor your health condition, and determine what’s needed to improve your overall health. Nurses provide direct care, coordinate with other health care professionals, explain procedures and treatments, and empower patients by teaching them how to care for themselves.
Nursing services can range from simple help such as administering medication, to something more extensive like changing wound dressings or providing palliative care. Generally, nurses can provide help with:
- Administering Medication
- Pediatric Care
- Palliative Care
- Catheter Changes
- G-Tube Feeds
- Foot Care
- Ventilator Care
- Continence Management
- Wound and Ostomy care
- Diabetic Education & Management
Home care agencies may provide a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) or Registered Nurse (RN) depending on your situation. There are several differences between an RPN and an RN, and these differences explain the gap in the rates provided by each of these health professionals. The cost of nursing service provided by an RPN ranges from $45 to $60 per hour, while the rate for a RN is $55 to $80 per hour. Companies can require a minimum number of hours per visit, and discounts may also be offered if you decide to hire a nurse for more than a certain number of hours.
Physiotherapy Costs in Ontario
Physiotherapy is a hands-on treatment that aims to help people of all ages restore and maintain their overall strength, function, movement, and well-being. Anyone who has trouble doing everyday tasks due to illness or injury, or who’s suffering from acute, chronic, or occasional pain can benefit from physiotherapy. Physiotherapy could be both preventative and rehabilitative, and is often the preferred option if a patient wishes to treat an injury and regain their normal strength.
The rate of physiotherapy may differ between an initial assessment and follow-up treatments. An initial assessment often lasts one hour, while follow-up treatments tend to last 30 to 45 minutes. In a clinic setting, it’s common for Physiotherapists (PT) to perform the initial assessment, and a Physiotherapy Assistant (PTA) to perform the follow-up appointments. However, in home care settings it is usually the Physiotherapist providing care at every visit.
The initial assessment for physiotherapy normally costs $90 to $150, with the average length being one hour. Follow-up treatment rates vary depending on the length, and whether the visit is with a physiotherapist or physiotherapy assistant. A 30 minute follow-up with a physiotherapist assistant may cost $40 to $50, while an hour long appointment with a physiotherapist might cost the same as the initial assessment.
Occupational Therapy Costs in Ontario
Occupational Therapy is a profession dedicated to helping individuals develop, recover, or maintain the ability to perform everyday activities, such as getting dressed, eating, or participating in the community.
It could be hard to differentiate between Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy, but a general rule of thumb is to remember that Occupational Therapy isn’t limited to treating injuries. Rather, it’s a therapy to help figure out why you can’t do what you want to do, and find a solution to solve that. Occupational Therapy can provide solutions to help you overcome your problem to help you live independently; this can include changing your living or working environments, changing your living habits, and so on.
For Occupational Therapy, one visit may cost from $110 to $150 and typically lasts one hour. Follow-up treatments can either cost the same or be priced differently based on the length of time needed for the visit, which is usually determined by the Occupational Therapist during their initial assessment.
Speech-Language Pathology Costs in Ontario
Speech-Language Pathologists work with both children and adults to help prevent and treat communication, speech, language, and swallowing disorders such as lisps, stuttering, stammering, or other speech-language. People who would like education and/or consultation about speech-language disorders may also benefit from Speech-Language Pathology.
Speech-Language Pathology regularly costs $120 to $135 per visit. A visit typically lasts one hour or more, depending on the condition of the client.
Dietetics Costs in Ontario
Dietetics is the science of how food, diet, and nutrition can affect an individual’s health. The goal of Dietetics is to educate individuals on making proper dietary choices to promote overall health and well-being. Dietetics as a home care service is performed by a Registered Dietitian (RD), who can help anyone with questions or concerns related to their dietary health. Services performed by a Registered Dietitian can include:
- Individualized diet programs
- Counselling on nutritional needs
- Supplement recommendations
- Suggestions for nutrition-related community services and resources
- Advice for alternate nutritional solutions (ie. Intravenous feeding)
- Advice on negative nutrients
- Information about diet and drug interactions
- Education about safe food storage
- Compatible meal suggestions
- Nutrition for healthy growth and development for young babies and children
A visit from a Registered Dietitian typically costs between $100 to $130. The cost may be slightly higher for the initial visit—which normally takes longer and may include an assessment.
Social Work Costs in Ontario
Social Work is a profession that aims to help individuals, families, groups and communities improve their individual and collective well-being. Social Workers provide help to people’s personal issues as well as dealing with broader social concerns such as poverty, unemployment and domestic violence.
If you are in need of professional counselling for personal, family, or work-related problems, you may benefit from seeing a Social Worker.
The rate for Social Workers in a community home-based setting typically ranges from $120 to $135 per visit. This visit will last from 1 to 1.5 hours, on average, depending on the needs of the client.
Paying Options for Private Home Care in Ontario
There are different ways that you can pay for private home care in Ontario. Some of the most common options are paying through financial support, private insurance, employee benefit plans, or paying out of pocket.
Paying for Private Home Care Through Financial Support
You may be eligible for grants, allowances or financial aids from federal or provincial government plans and tax credits. This may help cover part or all of the costs for your home care services. Examples include the Ontario caregiver allowances, the Canada Caregiver Credits, the Veterans Emergency Fund, or the disability tax credits.
Paying for Private Home Care Through Private Insurance
Your private home care needs may be covered in part or completely by your insurance, depending on your plan coverage. It’s worth looking into your private insurance plan to see which types of services are covered, and under what conditions you are eligible to claim the service through insurance.
Paying for Private Home Care Through Workplace Benefits
Your employee benefit plans may include extended health benefits which can include some home care services. Benefit plans that include short-term and long-term disability insurance can also help pay for the costs of private home care services by providing additional funds. If your home care needs happen to be related to a work-related injury, you may also receive benefits from the workplace safety insurance.
Paying for Private Home Care Out of Pocket
Unless you are able to pay for private home care services through one of the previously mentioned methods, you will likely have to pay for it yourself out of pocket. Some home care services are non-taxable, such as therapies (physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology), dietetics, and social work. For support home care services—including personal support, home support, and nursing—tax can be exempt if you are already receiving publicly funded care from the LHIN.
Summary of Pricing and Paying Options
Here is a recap of all of the services and their associated pricing, along with your paying options.
|Services & Pricing||Personal Support||$28–$35/hr|
|Physiotherapy (Follow-Up)*||$90–$100/visit (by a PT)
$40–$50/visit (by a PTA)
|Paying Options||Financial Support
Out of Pocket
*Note: A regular visit for rehabilitation services (physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, dietetics, or social work) often lasts 1 hour. Initial assessment may take longer (1–1.5 hours) while follow-up treatments often last around 30–45 minutes.
Hopefully this guide has made it easy for you to find the costs of home care services in Ontario. While some services may be more expensive than others, the rates for private home care in Ontario are similar throughout different organizations. If you’ve decided that you would like to hire a home care agency, check out our guide “Home Care in Ontario: How to Choose a Provider That’s Right for You.”