Canadian Underwriter

Attendant phone care not the same as custodial care

November 11, 2010   by Canadian Underwriter

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Attendant care provided over the phone is becoming increasingly common, but this is not the same level of care as custodial care, cautions Phillipa Samworth, partner at Dutton Brock.
“This is what I call ‘phone sex’ attendant care,” she said, speaking at a seminar hosted by the rehab firm VPI on Nov. 5.
“You know how instead of having sex with your spouse, you can get it over the phone – the spouse doesn’t have to be there – and maybe it gets the same result and maybe it doesn’t.
“Well, this is the same thing; you get attendant care by phone,” she added.
Phone attendant care is used in situations in which there might be a safety issue related to leaving someone alone for a long time, but the person could be left alone for short periods of time, Samworth said.
The claimant would simply need a safety net – someone to call – in the event they needed advice or direction.
Because there is never a guarantee as to when this emergency might pop up, the person providing the care needs to be accessible by phone 24 hours a day, even if they are working at another job for 18 of those, she added.
But this phone attendant care is being used in instances in which an individual might require custodial care due to changes in behaviour, but is able to respond on their own in the event of an emergency, Samworth pointed out. Custodial care is intended to be one-on-one access, not access to a phone.
“I am trying to raise awareness about this, because I see it as a growing area,” she said. “If we are going to interpret the Form 1 as saying that phone care for 24 hours is custodial care – one on one – for these individuals, I think we have a real problem.”

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