Respite Booking GuidelinesChildren's, Adult & Complex Medical Needs

How do I make a booking?

To arrange a booking, please reach out to the respite home at 613-236-3200 during our administrative hours, Monday to Friday, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

We strongly advise parents to plan visits well in advance, especially for dates aligning with school breaks. Please be aware that our availability for summer months typically reaches capacity by mid-April.

Do I have to call to confirm my booking?

A few days before your scheduled check-in, one of our staff members will reach out to confirm your plans. However, if your plans change before then, we appreciate a proactive call from you. This allows us to inform other parents on our waiting list about the availability for their child, youth, or young adult. We consistently have families on the waiting list, and providing them with as much notice as possible enables them to make necessary arrangements.

How many days per year can I book?

Children’s Respite – School Year (Sept – June)

    • Each family has the opportunity to book an initial set of 25 days of respite during the school year. Should you require additional days beyond this allocation, we encourage you to place your child on a waiting list for those extra days.

Children’s Respite – Summer Months (July & Aug)

    • Our aim is to accommodate as many families in our community as possible. In light of the growing demand for summer respite, each child will be eligible for one full week plus one full weekend (totaling 10 days) of respite during the summer months.
How long can my child or young adult stay?

In most programs, the duration of your child or young adult’s visit is flexible to accommodate your family’s needs. However, our aim is to provide all families with a complete week or weekend of respite whenever possible. Therefore, we prefer weekend visits to span from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon (or until Monday morning if returning to school), and week-long visits to begin Monday after school and end Friday morning (or extend through the weekend and discharge Sunday afternoon or Monday before school). While we understand there may be extenuating circumstances necessitating mid-week admissions, we kindly ask that these be kept to a minimum out of consideration for other families, as accommodating them may require shortening another family’s visit.

For certain programs, such as our regular planned relief and adult respite, admission and discharge dates are set and must be followed to facilitate the arrival of the next group.

How far in advanced must I book?

Every September, we open bookings for the upcoming year, with the cycle running from September to August. We strongly advise booking well in advance, especially for special dates, to secure your preferred time. While we don’t have a specific cutoff date for bookings, we encourage early reservations to ensure availability. We also accept last-minute bookings if space is available, but please note that we cannot guarantee availability for spontaneous bookings.

Can we leave the city during my child or young adult's visit?


If you are planning to be out of town while your child or young adult is staying with us, it’s mandatory to provide the name of an alternative person who can pick up your child if needed (for instance, in case of illness or emergency closure). This designated individual should be capable of arranging transportation and providing care for your child in your absence.

How many stat holidays or PD days can I book?

Due to the very high demand on professional development days and stat holidays, families are limited to the following:

  • 2 long weekends per year
  • 3 school professional days per calendar year
  • March Break once every 4 years
What if there is an emergency situation and we need more time?

We understand that unexpected situations can arise in all families, such as the illness of a parent or a close family member, or even a death in the family.

At the Ottawa Rotary Home, we are here to support you during these challenging times. If such a situation occurs, please don’t hesitate to call us, whether it’s day or night. We will make every effort to accommodate your child/young adult immediately, if space is available, and provide care until the crisis is resolved.

It’s important to note that days used in an emergency do not count towards the usual number of nights per year. This means you can plan your vacation time with peace of mind, knowing that we are always available to assist you in unexpected circumstances, space permitting.

What if I need to cancel my visit?

We recognize that life can be unpredictable. If you find yourself needing to cancel or alter your plans, we kindly ask that you call us as soon as possible. By doing so, you enable us to provide relief to a family on our waiting list who may benefit from our services.

What does a respite stay cost?

Children’s Services:

Families are requested to contribute $10.00 per day for each child. There are no additional charges, as the remaining costs are covered by the Ministry of Children, Community & Social Services.

Adult Overnight Respite – Funded for Families Referred through Developmental Services Ontario (DSO):

For young adults referred through Developmental Services Ontario (DSO), families are asked to contribute $28.75 per day.

Adult Overnight Respite fee-for-service:

families that wish to purchse adult respiet services using passport funding can purchase at a rate of 325.00/night.

What is the Regular Planned Relief Progam?

One of the programs we offer for children is our Regular Planned Relief (RPR). This program provides a structured and convenient option for families seeking respite care. Here are the highlights of the RPR Program:

  • The RPR Program operates throughout the school year, from September until mid-June.
  • Your child will be scheduled to visit Ottawa Rotary Home once every seven weeks.
    You will receive a predetermined schedule outlining your child’s bookings for the entire school year.
  • Your child’s visit will typically begin on Sunday evening or Monday afternoon and extend until the following Friday morning.
    During their stay, your child will maintain their usual school day routine, ensuring continuity and comfort.
  • Families have the option to periodically add a weekend to the regular week for an extended stay, providing flexibility to accommodate individual needs and preferences.

The RPR Program offers a reliable and consistent respite solution designed to meet the needs of both children and their families.

Check-in and Check-out times

We are licensed to accommodate a specific number of clients in our care at any given time. Therefore, it’s crucial that families adhere to the agreed-upon times for their child’s admission and discharge.

Recommended admission times are between 3:00 and 4:30 PM.

Recommended discharge times are between 1:00 and 2:30 PM.

Ensuring punctuality helps us maintain a smooth and efficient operation while respecting the needs of all families in our care.

Can my child arrive right from school on the school bus?

Yes, your child can be admitted directly from school. Upon their arrival, we will promptly contact you to confirm their safe arrival and discuss any medication you have provided.

It is the responsibility of the family to make transportation arrangements for the school bus to drop off your child directly at the respite home. Please ensure to contact your child’s school to make these arrangements.

Can my child be discharged to school instead of me picking them up?

Yes, your child can be discharged directly to school in the morning. We will ensure that all belongings are sent with them on the school bus unless otherwise directed by you. Additionally, we will include a discharge summary of your child’s visit in the suitcase for your reference, and you can contact us with any questions.

It remains the responsibility of the family to coordinate transportation arrangements for the school bus to drop off your child directly at our facility. Please ensure to contact your child’s school to make these arrangements accordingly.

What happens at admission?

At each admission, parents/guardians are requested to review and update the care plan, making any necessary changes. The admitting Counsellor or Nurse (depending on the program) will also review medications and special equipment with you at this time. It’s important to note that all counselors who conduct medication intakes are specially trained in medication administration.

You will be asked to sign forms granting the Ottawa Rotary Home permission to care for your child/young adult, take them on outings (if you approve), and seek emergency medical attention if necessary. Additionally, you will need to provide contact information for an emergency contact who can pick up and care for your child/young adult in case of illness or emergency closure, especially if you plan to be out of town.

Once a year, you will be required to sign our yearly forms package, which includes permission forms necessary for accessing respite services. These forms are a mandatory part of our compliance regulations with the Ministry of Children,  Community and Social Services (MCCS). They must be signed each calendar year before your child/young adult’s first visit. If your child is arriving by school bus, we will request that you come in prior to the visit to complete these forms before their arrival.

You will also be given your invoice.  We kindly request that payment be made upon admission. 

What happens at discharge?

Children/young adults are discharged to their parents/guardians or to school if arrangements have been made in advance. If someone other than a parent/guardian, such as a relative or babysitter, is picking up your child/young adult, special written permission must be provided to the Ottawa Rotary Home. We require a written request and a copy of the person’s ID before pick-up to verify their identity and ensure the safety of your child/young adult.

Upon discharge, we will provide your child/young adult with a discharge letter summarizing their visit, including activities and appetite, to keep you well informed. Additionally, there will be a “feedback” form for parents to complete. We encourage you to send it back to us, as your feedback helps us understand your child’s visit from your perspective and continuously improve our services.

What do I send with my child or young adult?

Please ensure that your child’s belongings include:

  • Clothes, including appropriate outdoor clothing such as a hat, jacket, mittens, etc.
  • We recommend they bring a pillow from home.  We always have extra pillows if they forget.
  • Special equipment such as catheters, splints, voice-box, wheelchair, etc.
  • Medications, which must be in their original bottle with a prescription label. We cannot accept medications that have been transferred to a “pill box” or other container, and pre-filled syringes of liquid medications cannot be accepted.
  • Diapers/Incontient pads, diaper creams.
  • Feding pump, feed bags, bottles, formula, and syringes.
  • Lunch box/bag if they are going to school each day.
  • Food supplements such as Ensure.
  • A special toy if the child feels more comfortable with it.
  • Toothpaste, toothbrush, and shampoo.

It’s important to label all belongings and provide a descriptive list to ensure that items are properly accounted for during your child’s stay. We highly recommend downloading the clothing list from our website and utilizing it to list all clothing items. This helps us maintain accurate records and ensures that your child’s belongings are returned to you in an organized manner.

For children who eat orally, we provide a nutritional, well-balanced menu. However, if your child has any special likes or requests for specific treats, please send those in. Please note that we are a nut and tree nut free facility, and we cannot allow any items containing nuts on the premises. Your cooperation in adhering to these guidelines helps ensure the safety and well-being of all our guests.

How do I bring in my child or young adult's medications?

Parents are required to bring medications in their original bottles with a current prescription or pharmacy label. The medication label must not be expired, and it cannot be under someone else’s name.

If families prefer not to send a whole bottle of medication and choose to send only enough for the visit, we ask that they request a second bottle from their pharmacist with a pharmacy label that they can transfer the medication into. It’s essential to ensure there is enough medication for the entire visit.

If a physician has recently changed the dosage of a prescription and the medication bottle does not reflect that change, we will require a copy of the prescription.

While we do stock routine medications such as Tylenol, Advil, and Gravol for emergency situations, if your child takes one of these medications regularly, we ask that you provide it. Additionally, we will administer any vitamins or herbal supplements given at home. These should also be in their original containers, and we can only administer them according to the directions on the bottle for liability reasons. If your child requires a smaller dose than what is indicated on the bottle, we can adhere to that, but we cannot exceed the recommended dose by the manufacturer.

Will I have a chance to update the careplan?

Approximately one week before your child or young adult’s visit, you will receive a call from one of our staff members. During this call, the staff member will review the care plan with you and inquire about any recent changes to the care or routine provided. Additionally, they will ask if there have been any recent illnesses or changes in medication.

You can request a copy of the care plan by email to review, and any changes you indicate to us will be made prior to your child or young adult’s arrival. Furthermore, you can request a copy of the care plan at any time for review and send us any changes or updates as needed. We are committed to ensuring that our care plans accurately reflect the needs of your child or young adult, and your input is valued in this process.

What does my child or young adult do at the Ottawa Rotary Home?

Your child or young adult follows a typical daily routine similar to what they experience at home. School children attend school as normal, with packed lunches if required. Young adults can still attend their regular scheduled day programs if they have them. Parents are responsible for making transportation arrangements at least one week in advance with the school or bus company.

We organize age-appropriate activities for all participants. After school, on weekends, and holidays, we plan activities suitable for the weather and the interests of the group staying with us at that time. These activities may include arts and crafts, trips to local museums, walks to nearby stores, or picnics in the park. We strive to provide engaging and enjoyable experiences for all children and young adults, promoting social interaction, creativity, and fun in a safe and supportive environment.

Accommodation arrangements typically involve two children per room, though in emergencies, a third child may be accommodated. We provide beds with side rails and cribs as needed to ensure that your child feels comfortable and secure during their stay. Often, children who are acquainted with each other will book a room together for a sleepover, which may not always be feasible at home due to specific equipment needs and care requirements. Young adults have single rooms with adjoining bathrooms for privacy and comfort.

Meals at the Ottawa Rotary Home are nutritious and enjoyable. Staff and children dine together, fostering a sense of community and lively conversation. Bath and bedtime routines in the evening are tailored to each child or young adult’s usual schedule as recommended by parents. Teenagers and young adults may have a later bedtime on weekends to accommodate their preferences.

While therapists who typically visit your home may maintain their appointments at the Ottawa Rotary Home, we are unable to arrange transportation for your child or young adult to attend doctor or therapist appointments off-site. It’s advisable to reschedule these appointments for a time when they are not staying with us.

What happens if my child or young adult becomes ill at the Ottawa Rotary Home?

Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate any child or young adult who develops an infectious disease such as a cold, flu, COVID-19, gastrointestinal bug, chickenpox, etc., as mandated by Ottawa Public Health. We lack the staffing and equipment required for isolation to protect others in such cases. If your child or young adult falls ill with an infectious disease while staying with us, you will be asked to take them home as soon as possible.

If you are going out of town while your child is staying with us, please ensure to leave the name of an alternative person who can pick them up if necessary.

We have a team of nurses who specialize in our complex medical needs program. While they are not formally connected to our regular respite programs, they are often called upon to provide support if a client becomes acutely ill. Additionally, we have a senior nurse on call 24 hours a day who can be consulted in the event of illness. Our Director of Operations and Health Management is a registered nurse who can provide support for all complex needs. Furthermore, all our counselors are required to have current First Aid and CPR certificates, ensuring the safety and well-being of all individuals in our care.

Is my child or young adult's information kept confidential?

All information provided to us is kept in the strictest confidence. This includes medical history, family situations, and any bookings made with us.

At the beginning of each calendar year, we will ask parents to sign a release form allowing us to share information with other organizations, such as Service Coordination, solely for the purpose of providing quality care. However, signing this waiver is optional, and you are not required to do so if you do not wish.

Please note that due to our confidentiality policy, we are unable to disclose whether your child or young adult’s friends are booked at a certain time. If you wish to book your child or young adult at the same time as their friends, you will need to coordinate this with the other parents. We appreciate your understanding in this matter.

What happens if there is an emergency closure of the respite programs?

Over the past 40 years, we have had to close our doors on four occasions: once due to an extended city-wide power outage, once due to a major flood, and twice due to a pandemic. In the event that we have to close our doors, we will promptly notify you and request that you pick up your child or yound adult as soon as possible. If you are unable to do so, we will ask that you send your designated emergency contact person.  

We understand that respite is a vital support for all families.  We strive to provide continuous care and support to our familes, and any closure is undertaken with careful consideration of the well-being of those we serve. Thank you for your understanding and patience during such rare occurrences.