CCAC Ontario: Community Care Access Centres
Ontario seniors who need healthcare and home care services can get information and help from the province’s 14 Community Care Access Centres (CCACs). Since 2007, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has operated these centres to serve as contact points, information clearinghouses, assessment services, referral resources, and care coordinators for eligible residents who need healthcare, help at home, or a safer place to live. Because CCACs offer so many services, and because so many are offered for free or at a discount to qualified seniors, it’s worth taking a few minutes to understand everything that your local CCAC has to offer.
Who’s eligible for CCAC services?
In general, everyone who is covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) is eligible for local health integration network (LHIN) services from their local CCAC. There are more specific health-related eligibility requirements for long-term care, home care, aboriginal care programs, and rehabilitation services paid for by the CCAC. Residents are eligible covered services offered within their own CCAC catchment area, and programs are tailored to best meet the needs of each community.
Regional centres and the referral process
There is a CCAC in each of the province’s local health integration network areas:
- Erie St. Clair, serving Chatham-Kent, Essex, and Lambton counties
- South West, serving the counties of Bruce, Elgin, Grey (northern portion), Huron, London-Middlesex, Norfolk, Oxford, and Perth
- Waterloo Wellington, serving the City of Guelph, Grey County (southern portion), Waterloo region, and Wellington County
- Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant, serving Brant and Haldimand counties, the municipality of Niagara and the city of Hamilton
- Central West, serving Dufferin County and all or part of the Peel regional municipality communities of Brampton, Bolton-Caledon, Etobicoke, Malton, and Woodbridge
- Mississauga Halton, serving the municipality of Halton, the southeast portion of Peel (including Mississauga,) and the southwestern edge of Toronto
- Toronto Central, serving Toronto proper, East York, and portions of Etobicoke, North York, and Scarborough
- Central, a large area north of Toronto serving the regions of Central York, South Simcoe and Northern York, South East York, South West York, North York Central, North York East, North York West, and the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation
- Central East, serving the district of Scarborough; the counties of Durham, Haliburton, and Peterborough; much of Northumberland County; and the City of Kawartha Lakes
- South East, serving the counties of Frontenac, Hastings, Lanark, Leeds and Grenville, Lennox and Addington, Northumberland (southeastern section), and Prince Edward
- Champlain, including Renfrew County and the Ottawa-Carleton region
- North Simcoe Muskoka, serving the Muskoka district and the Simcoe County cities of Barrie, Collingwood, Midland, Orillia, and Penetanguishene
- North East, serving the districts of Algoma, Cochrane, Manitoulin, Nipissing, Sudbury, and Timiskaming as well as the town of Parry Sound
- North West, serving the districts of Kenora, Rainy River, and Thunder Bay, including Thunder Bay City
Referrals can be made by individuals, their family members and friends, and by health care providers. To begin the process for yourself or a loved one, call the main CCAC number (310-2222, no area code) and you’ll automatically be connected to your local centre. There, a care coordinator will verify your eligibility, assess your care needs, and help you make a care plan.
What services do CCACs provide?
CCACs help residents get health and home care services paid for by the provincial health insurance plan; they can also refer you to other local non-profit and private organizations that provide home care, assisted living, and other services. The first service you’ll receive is an assessment to find out what’s needed, what your overall condition is, what help is already being provided at home, and the urgency of your situation.
If you need home care, services include personal care to assist with dressing and grooming, nursing care and nutritional guidance, social work services, medical equipment and supplies, and rehabilitative care such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physiotherapy. Specialized nursing services include hospice palliative care at home and rapid response nurses who make home visits to help with the return home after a hospital stay.
The CCAC can also refer you to other groups for community care services including hot meal delivery, community dining programs, housekeeping, transportation and errands, and friendly visits and well-checks. The centre may also have information on short-term caregiver respite programs in your area, low-cost adult day programs, assisted living programs for seniors who don’t require skilled nursing but can no longer live safely at home, subsidized supportive housing for adults with physical and mental challenges, and short-stay care in a long-term care home while your regular caregiver takes some time off of while you are recovering from surgery or illness.
Retirement home information and long-term care home placements
Seniors who no longer wish to live at home and who don’t need skilled nursing may choose to move into a retirement home. Your local CCAC can help you decide if a retirement home is the right setting for you, explain the licensing standards that retirement homes must meet, and give you information about nearby retirement communities. It’s important to keep in mind that retirement home costs are not covered by OHIP; they are private businesses and residents pay from their own funds.
If you or someone you care for needs skilled nursing care and is having trouble remaining at home safely, long-term care (LTC) may be the best option. Your care coordinator can help you decide if this is what you need, and if so, he or she can help you apply for LTC home admission to any Ontario facility. You can build a list of as many as 5 LTC homes and be added to their waiting lists, and if you need help at home while you wait for placement, the Wait at Home program can provide that assistance. Medical and nursing services delivered in long-term care facilities are covered by insurance; room and board are the financial responsibility of the patient.
If you have questions about long term care or any other CCAC service, call the main number at 310-2222 to speak to a care coordinator. You can also see a detailed list of all the services available at your CCAC by selecting it at Health Services for Ontario.