Home First - updated December 2, 2011 

Home is Where the Heart is...

Home First is a significant shift in health care thinking.  When a person enters a hospital with an acute episode, every effort is made to ensure adequate resources are in place to support the person to ultimately go home on discharge.  Only when returning home with care is not possible or safe to do so, are other options considered.

Essentially, Home First is about providing the right care, in the right place, at the right time and for the right cost.

Telling the Story

"Home First: Quality Transitions of Care for Seniors" was presented at the 23rd Annual National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care hosted by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.  To view the poster presentation that shows the difference that Home First is making in the lives of seniors at Ross Memorial Hospital, please click here


Click on the picture above to view a video on how Home First is changing the way we care for the frail elderly in Ontario.

People who receive care in their homes are generally happier, more comfortable in a familiar setting and tend to heal more quickly.  In addition, getting better at home eases pressures on hospitals and long wait times in our hospital emergency rooms and reduces the risk of infections that can be picked up while in a hospital.

Home First is a philosophy that promotes safe and timely care to meet healthcare needs of patients and families in the most appropriate setting - “Every patient admitted to the hospital will be discharged home” – so that decisions about major changes in lifestyle, including moving to supportive housing or long term care,  can be made from home, not from hospital.

In September 2010, the Central East LHIN began to implement a Home First philosophy, in partnership with the Central East Community Care Access Centre (CECCAC), all Central East LHIN hospitals and Central East Community Support Service agencies - Community Care Durham; Community Care Peterborough;  Trans Care (Scarborough) – Lead Agency; Community Care Northumberland;  Community Care Haliburton; Community Care City of Kawartha Lakes. 

As of August 16 2011, over 4,000 people have benefited from Home First.

By 2019, the number of seniors aged 65+ will increase by 19% in the Central East region and the number of seniors aged 85 and older will increase by 47%.  This will include 42,449 frail seniors with significant health care needs – an increase of 36%.  The impact of these demographic trends will be profound.

Too often, seniors in our LHIN are waiting in hospitals and entering long-term care homes with health care needs that can be safely met in their homes, with the proper home care support.  Home First is not meant to replace a hospital stay or an admission to a long-term care home.  As always, the type of care an individual needs is the key factor in any decision about the best place for them to receive the care they require.

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

What is Home First?

The Home First  is a philosophy that will help patients transition from the hospital back to their homes. By working with patients and their families, the CECCAC and Community Support Service agencies can help patients stay in their own homes or, if necessary, move to a more appropriate place for care. 

What kind of support can patients receive?

Each patient/client will have individualized support services depending on their health care needs. Types of services may vary, some of which include home care, meals, friendly visitors, light housekeeping.

Who qualifies for Home First? 

All patients regardless of their age, hospital unit location, length of stay or condition will have access to Home First. In the Central East LHIN our priority is the health and safety of patients and clients. We want to be sure each person receives the right care at the right time and in the right place. A CECCAC Case Manager will work with patients and the hospitals' inter-professional teams to determine what type of services and supports are needed in order to transition home in a safe and timely manner.

Will patients get the support they need at home even if they are not planning to move to a Long-Term Care Home? 

Yes. Patients going home from hospital need the most help during the first month or two. During this time the CECCAC Case Manager will continue to assess and support patients' needs and coordinate the services to ensure they can live comfortably and safely in their own home.

Why can’t patients just wait in the hospital for a bed in a long-term care home? 

Home is the best place to recover from your hospital stay with the help of services from the CECCAC and community services. Your own home is a better place for you to regain your strength and make important decisions about your care over the long term.


  • $7.3 million (Aging at Home Year Three, CCAC Service Maximums, CE LHIN Urgent Priorities Funding)

Provincial Home First Facts 

Studies have shown that, when appropriately managed, care in the home can moderate the demand for more costly hospital/long-term care options while maintaining an individual’s independence. Cost estimates include:

  • an acute care bed: $800-$1000/day;
  • a long-term care bed: $150/day;
  • assisted living services to a group of seniors: $35/day.

Home First helps to reduce the demand and wait list for long-term care by properly assessing high needs seniors after their acute episode and ensuring that only those who truly need long-term care are applying to be administered to a long-term care home.

The province’s 14 LHINs are partnering with their respective CCACs to further implement the Home First philosophy all across Ontario.