Saskatchewan Nursing Homes
Understanding the Nursing Home System
General Definition of Nursing Homes
Definition of Nursing Home
In the province of Saskatchewan, nursing homes are referred to as Special Care Homes. A Special Care Home is a “facility that provides institutional long-term care services to meet the needs of individuals usually having heavy care needs. In contrast, Personal Care Homes are for individuals with lighter care needs.
In order to be eligible for nursing home placement you must be:
- a resident of Saskatchewan
- have a valid Saskatchewan Health Services Card
- have care needs that require nursing home level care.
The Ministry of Health is responsible for regulating, monitoring, and setting fees for nursing home care.
Nursing Home Owners
The majority of nursing homes in Saskatchewan are public homes.
Most nursing homes have a selection of room layouts from which to choose. A basic, or ward room consists of 3 or more beds. Semi-private rooms have 2 beds, and a private room has a single bed in a room.
Applying to a Nursing Home in Saskatchewan
To apply for a nursing home bed in Saskatchewan, contact your local Regional Health Authority (RHA) and ask for the Home Care Office. You will speak with an Intake Coordinator who will assign you a Client Care Coordinator or Home Care Assessor. This individual will use a risk indicator tool to assess dimensions such as physical functioning, mental status, informal support available, social relationships, emotional state, and spiritual needs. These measures will indicate the urgency of your need for nursing home care. If you are eligible for a nursing home bed you will added to a waiting list.
RHAs have a rating system to ensure that vacant beds to go those with the highest need. While you are awaiting nursing home placement, the Home Care Assessor will regularly review your care needs to ensure that the health information reflects your current health status.
The Access Review Committee or Regional Coordinating Committee monitors waiting lists and determine who will be offered a bed once one becomes available. If a bed becomes available and the Committee offers you nursing home placement, you are expected to accept the first bed offered to you, even if it is not your nursing home of choice. You can accept the bed and maintain your priority on the waiting list of the nursing home you prefer.
When you enter a nursing home, you may be asked to bring the following documents, if they were not already collected during the RHA assessment:
- Power of Attorney for Finances (if one)
- Power of Attorney for Care (if one)
- Notice of Assessment (if you are not paying the maximum rate)
- Advanced Health Care Directives (if one)
- Saskatchewan Health Services Card
Saskatchewan Nursing Home Costs
In the province of Saskatchewan, nursing home fees are set by the Ministry of Health. Fees are income tested, such that the amount a resident will pay will be determined by their monthly income. The minimum amount a resident will pay, otherwise known as an accommodation fee, is $1032.00 per month, and the maximum amount is $1964.00 (effective October 1, 2013). All residents are charged the minimum rate ($1032) in addition to 50% of their income between $1320 - $3184. Resident will not be asked to disclose assets or sell their house to pay for their nursing home care. Residents’ accommodation charges may change on January 1 of every year depending on if the rate schedule changes. Rate schedules are adjusted on a quarterly basis to adjust for Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement.
|Daily Accommodation Fee||Monthly Accommodation Fee|
If a resident is married, the combined income of the resident and spouse will be combined and divided by half, and then this figure will be used to determine the accommodation rate. If, however, the couple lives in separate dwellings for reasons beyond their control (i.e., the wife lives in a nursing home and the husband resides in the community), you can complete a Optional Designation Form, and the income of the community dwelling spouse will not be factored into determining the resident’s accommodation fee. This will only be beneficial if the resident’s income is lower than that of the spouse.
Residents do not pay a different rate according to the type of accommodation they receive. Meaning, a resident cannot be charge additional fees for a semi-private or private room. The nursing home decides who will be assigned to a specific room depending on several factors, such as care needs, availability, and behaviour. For example, a resident who exhibits disruptive behaviours may be assigned a private room as to not bother other residents.
Accommodation rates are based on Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement, therefore, the vast majority of individuals will be able to afford at least the minimum accommodation rate of $993.00 per month.
The Minister of Health subsidizes 80% of the cost of nursing home care.
Short Stay/Respite Care
Respite care gives temporary relief to caregivers, or allows them to go on vacation knowing that their loved one’s care needs are met. The number of respite beds varies by home, so please contact individual homes to inquire as to whether or not they offer this service.
The cost of respite care is the minimum accommodation rate ($1032), divided by the number of days in the month you are receiving respite care, multiplied by the number of days you will be in the home. Usually, the maximum number of consecutive days you can apply for respite care is 2 weeks, however this will also depend on availability. You will be required to undergo an assessment prior to admission, however the assessment is not as comprehensive as the assessment required for permanent nursing home placement.
Because the accommodation rates are based on Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement, the formula ensures that each resident will have monthly funds remaining for personal spending.
Programs and Services Covered by Government Funding and Accommodation Rates
The accommodation fee and government subsidy will cover the following costs in a nursing home:
- room furnishings (bed, nightstand, easy chair, and dresser)
- meals and snacks (including special diets)
- laundry services
- social programs
- medication administration
- assistance with Activities of Daily Living
- physician care
- pastoral services
- personal hygiene
- some mobility aides for occasional use (i.e., walker)
Programs and Services Not Covered
The following programs and services are not covered by the government or the accommodation fees, therefore there will be out-of-pockets costs.
- T.V. cable
- newspaper delivery
- tuck shop
- dry cleaning
Saskatchewan Nursing Home Policies, Programs, And Services
Although nursing homes vary according to some programs and services, the following are fairly standard across all nursing homes.
- All nursing homes permit visitors, however each home can determine their own visiting hours.
- Residents of nursing homes are able to bring in personal items to make their room feel like home. It is recommended to bring in items such as pictures, a bedspread, and decorations. You may be allowed to bring in some furnishings, depending on room size and safety concerns. Please speak with the home prior to brining in furnishings.
- Residents are permitted to bring in some personal appliances, however all must be approved by the home to ensure that they meet safety requirements.
- Homes are required to have an attending physician on staff to care for all residents, however you may be able to keep your own doctor if he/she has visiting privileges in the home.
- The home will tailor meals and snacks to residents’ dietary restrictions. Some residents may need to be referred to a registered dietitian for an assessment.
- Each nursing home is required to abide by and post the Residents Bill of Rights.
- Nursing Home residents should be given the opportunity and support to establish and sustain a Resident’s Council.
- Nursing homes must provide laundry services.
- Each nursing home must provide activity programs and some program may be offered in the evening, weekends, and outside the facility.
- Each nursing home should provide spiritual or religious programs.
- All nursing homes differ in the degree to which they offer palliative care. Some homes may provide comfort measures to a resident in their final hours, whereas other homes may have separate room for palliative residents, and the room may allow family members to spend the night with the dying resident.
Homes vary in their use of restraints, but in all homes and individual resident situations, restraints must be used only if:
- it is used only as a last resort
- the resident is harmful to self or others
- all other interventions have proven to be unsuccessful
- the restraint is as minimal as possible
- the resident is assessed on a regular basis to ensure the resident’s safety and comfort, and to establish if the restraint is still required
- the family must be informed
- the use of the restraint is documented, as well as each time the restraint is assessed
If a nursing home resident has to go to hospital, they are required to continue paying the accommodation fee. The nursing home must hold the bed for the resident while in hospital.
Nursing home residents are able to go on vacation for an unlimited number of days, and leave the home for weekends, however they are required to pay the accommodation fee while away from the nursing home.
Saskatchewan Nursing Home Government Regulations
Nursing homes fall under the jurisdiction of Regional Health Authorities, and the Regional Health Authorities Act. They are designated as a nursing home by the government, and must abide by the Housing and Special Care Homes Act.
Although Saskatchewan nursing homes are not licensed, they should be accredited by Accreditation Canada (formerly the Canadian Council for Health Services Accreditation). Accreditation Canada is an independent, non-government agency that evaluates health care facilities. Homes that have been through the accreditation process, and have been granted accreditation are presented with a plaque, which most homes prominently display.
If you have a concern with the nursing home, first speak with the staff to make them aware of the problem and discuss ways to address the issue. If you are not satisfied with this response, contact the Manager of the department. Serious issues, or concerns that are still not corrected, should be brought to the attention of the Administrator.