Learn about comfort and quality-of-life care for people and their families living with life-limiting illness.

Hospice palliative care:

  • Does not hasten or delay death.
  • Improves the quality life by offering comfort and dignity.
  • Offers comfort, emotional and spiritual supports to the person and family.
  • Allows people to continue receiving treatments that slow the progress of the disease and reduce uncomfortable symptoms.
  • Provides a variety of services designed to provide care and comfort.
  • Medical intervention is for symptom management, including pain control, rather than for cure.

Accessing hospice palliative care services

  • Where is hospice palliative care offered?

    At home

    Hospice palliative care can be provided in people's homes through Home Health care offering professional nursing care and other care services. To help people remain at home, access to a variety of home support services (including personal care, after hours telephone support, in-home medication kit, and some supplies and equipment) is offered as needed or appropriate. Hospice palliative care teams and volunteers are available for expert advice, consultation and support to you and your family, as well as to health care providers.

    In hospital

    Short-stay beds are available on medical units in all Fraser Health hospitals for hospice palliative care patients needing diagnostic tests and treatment. Teams of health professionals specializing in hospice palliative care provide expert advice, consultation and support about hospice palliative care to staff, patients and families.

    Specialized hospice palliative care units

    Specialized hospital units aim to comfort and support patients and their families who may be experiencing difficulties managing pain, complex physical symptom assessment and management issues, complex psychological/spiritual/social issues, family/caregiver distress, or other extensive or intensive care requirements.

    Specialized hospice palliative care units are located in Burnaby Hospital, Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Surrey Memorial Hospital.

    In residential care and assisted living facilities

    Consultation from hospice palliative care teams and Hospice Society volunteer support is available to palliative patients residing in residential care facilities located within Fraser Health.

    To receive this service in an assisted living facility, the patient must be capable of directing his or her own care or have a spouse with them who is able to make health care and other decisions on their behalf.

    In hospice residences

    Care is also provided in hospice residences.

  • How do I access hospice palliative care services?

    Step 1 - Contact the Home Health Service Line

    Contact our Home Health Service Line at 1-855-412-2121.

    The Hospice Palliative Care Consultation Team provides hospice care to individuals coping with end of life issues. Addresses physical, emotional and spiritual needs in order to relieve suffering and improve quality of life. Services can be provided at home, hospital, residential care facility or hospice, and can include grief and bereavement counselling, equipment and supplies in the home and access to a hospice residence or an acute palliative care unit. Support is extended to family members.

    For an initial assessment regarding access and suitability of these services, call the Home Health Service Line at 1-855-412-2121. Trained staff, seven days a week from 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Translation services are also available.

    If you have previously registered with Home Health, contact your case manager at the local community health office.

    Who can call?

    You or anyone on your behalf:

    • Family member
    • Hospital
    • Family doctor
    • Friend
    • Neighbour
    • Community group
    • Government agency

    What can I expect when I call?

    Home Health Service Line staff do their best to answer every call. Occasionally, the volume of calls during peak hours may mean you receive a voicemail message asking for a callback number, which will be returned by 4:30 p.m.

    We address each call individually as each situation is different. Our customer service staff will answer your questions to determine which of our services best addresses your needs.

    Step 2 - Get assessed by a case manager

    The case manager will work closely with you, your family and friends to:

    • Evaluate your needs
    • Determine what kind of services are needed
    • Determine eligibility for services, including residency requirements
    • Determine whether there will be any costs involved for certain services
    • Plan, coordinate and monitor multiple care services
    • Arrange relief for family caregivers
    • Assess clients who may need to move to an assisted living or residential care facility or to a hospice residence

    If you require nursing or physical and occupational therapy services, a nurse or therapist may visit you in your home to assess your specific additional needs.

    How long do I have to wait before I will see a case manager?

    Eligible clients may be assessed within a couple days or up to a week, depending on the urgency of need. While every attempt is made to accommodate urgent circumstances, these services are not emergency services.

    Services are prioritized for clients who most urgently require these services.

    Step 3 - Develop a care plan

    Following the assessment, an individualized care plan is developed and appropriate services are arranged. The goal is to help people with multiple health care needs live at home safely and to avoid unnecessary admission to a hospital or care facility.

  • Is there a cost?

    Most services are covered by the B.C. Medical Services Plan or the B.C. Palliative Care Benefits program. 

    Eligible home support services are provided free of charge. However, there may be some additional charges for certain services such as per diem costs in hospice residences. You may also be eligible for rate reductions through the B.C. Palliative Care Benefits program.

    Visit our costs page in our Home Health Care section to learn more.

Eligibility for hospice palliative care services

To receive hospice palliative care services, patients must:

  • Have a life-threatening illness or be facing end-of-life issues.
  • Have a life expectancy of weeks or months rather than years.
  • Understand the primary goal of care/treatment is quality of life, not cure of disease.
  • Agree to the referral or to consultative support.

For admission to a hospice residence, patients must:

  • Be supported by the hospice palliative care program and B.C. Palliative Care Benefits Program.
  • Have care needs that cannot be supported in community or residential care settings.
  • Have no requirement for acute care.
  • Present with a life expectancy of less than three months.
  • Agree with the hospice philosophy of care.

The hospice palliative care team, through discussions with you, your family and your physician, helps make decisions about admission to a hospice.

For admission to a specialized hospice palliative care unit, patients must:

  • Live in the Fraser Health region.
  • Be 19 years of age or older.
  • Agree to the goals of hospice palliative care.
  • Require short-term, specialized assessment and care.

When symptoms improve and a plan of care is in place, you will return home or move to a hospice or hospital in own community.

Patients can still receive care but the intent is to improve the person’s quality of life rather than cure the disease.

Hospice residences

Hospice residences provide a home-like setting, and are often physically attached to a residential care facility, hospital or other type of housing where hospice palliative care is provided on a 24-hour basis.

Resources

  • Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association
    The national voice for Hospice Palliative Care in Canada. Advancing and advocating for quality end-of-life/hospice palliative care in Canada, its work includes public policy, public education and awareness.
  • B.C. Palliative Care Benefits Program: Application Form
    For palliative care drug coverage and requesting an assessment for medical supplies and equipment.
  • Canadian Virtual Hospice
    The Canadian Virtual Hospice provides support and personalized information about palliative and end-of-life care to patients, family members, health care providers, researchers and educators.
  • B.C. Ministry of Health: End of Life Care
    End-of-life care is supportive and compassionate care that focuses on comfort, quality of life, respect for personal health care treatment decisions, support for the family, and psychological, cultural and spiritual concerns for dying people and their families.
  • B.C. Palliative Care Benefits Program
    B.C. Palliative Care benefits are available to B.C. residents of any age who have reached the end stage of a life-threatening disease or illness and who wish to receive palliative care at home — meaning wherever the person is living, whether in their own home, with family or friends, in a supportive/assisted living residence, or in a hospice unit at a residential care facility (for example, a community hospice bed that is not covered under PharmaCare Plan B).