Home Support

Home support services help you to remain independent and to live in your own home as long as possible.

Home support services are direct care services provided by community health workers to clients who require personal assistance with activities of daily living, such as:

  • mobility;
  • nutrition;
  • lifts and transfers;
  • bathing and dressing;
  • cueing (providing prompts to assist with the completion of tasks); and
  • grooming and toileting.

Home support services may also include safety maintenance activities as a supplement to personal assistance when appropriate. These activities may include clean-up, laundry of soiled bedding or clothing, and meal preparation.

In addition, community health workers may perform some specific nursing and rehabilitation tasks that have been delegated by health care professionals.

Home support services can be considered respite care, to provide caregivers with temporary relief from the demands of providing care.

Home support services are usually provided over a longer period of time, such as several months or years, but can also be provided on a short-term basis after a discharge from hospital or as part of end-of-life care.

Is this care right for me?

Home support services are suitable if you have been assessed as requiring personal assistance and/or respite for a caregiver through a clinical assessment conducted by a health care professional from your regional health authority.

What are the home support eligibility criteria?

In addition to meeting the general eligibility criteria for home and community care services, to be eligible for home support services you must:

  • have been assessed as requiring personal assistance and/or respite for your caregiver through a clinical assessment by a health authority health care professional; and
  • have agreed to pay the assessed client rate.

If you require home support services on a short-term basis only, the three-month residency requirement (in the general eligibility criteria for home and community care services) may not apply to you. Your health care professional can provide you with more information.

To read the general eligibility criteria for all home and community care services, go to:

How do I arrange for home support services?

If you are interested in receiving home support services or know of someone who might be in need of these services, you can contact the home and community care office of your health authority or you can have a health care profession make a referral on your behalf.

For contact information and a detailed description of how to arrange for home support services, please see:

How does my health authority determine how much and what type of home support services I will receive?

Your need and allocation for home support services will be assessed on the following criteria:

  • Your health and functional status;
  • You and your caregiver’s ability to manage care needs with available community supports;
  • Your established health care goals; and
  • The assessed risk to staff.

Is there a cost for home support services? 

If you receive publicly subsidized home support services, you will pay a daily rate based on your income (and the income of your spouse, if applicable). Your daily rate is calculated by multiplying your “remaining annual income” (as defined in the Continuing Care Fees Regulation) by 0.00138889. For more information on how your remaining annual income is calculated, please see:

If your assessed daily rate is higher than the actual cost of the service to the health authority, the health authority will charge you no more than the actual cost of the service.

If you or your spouse has earned income (as defined in the Continuing Care Fees Regulation) you will not be charged more than $300 per month for home support services. Make sure you tell your responsible assessor about any earned income when you are completing your financial assessment.

If payment of your assessed daily rate would cause you or your family serious financial hardship, you may apply to your health authority for a temporary reduction of your daily rate.  For more information, please see "What if I cannot afford my assessed daily rate?", below.

Exceptions

You are not required to pay a daily rate for home support services for the first two weeks of receiving short-term home support services after being discharged from a hospital, or if you are eligible for palliative supplies and equipment under the BC Palliative Care Benefits Program.

You are also not required to pay a daily rate for home support services if you receive one of the following government income benefits:

  • the Guaranteed Income Supplement, the Spouse’s Allowance or the Widowed Spouse’s Allowance under the Old Age Security Act (Canada).
  • support and shelter allowance under the Employment and Assistance Act or the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act.
  • a War Veterans Allowance under the War Veteran’s Allowance Act (Canada).

Information for Couples

If you and your spouse are both receiving publicly subsidized home support or Choice in Supports for Independent Living services, you and your spouse will both be assessed the full daily rate. However, only one of you (either you or your spouse) will be charged per service day. Your monthly rate will be recalculated if your living situation changes for any reason and you are no longer living with your spouse.

For more general information on the costs of publicly subsidized home and community care services in B.C., please see:

What if I cannot afford my assessed daily rate?

If you are receiving publicly subsidized home support and payment of your assessed daily rate would cause you or your family serious financial hardship, you may be eligible for a reduced rate. 

Serious financial hardship means that payment of the assessed daily rate would result in you (or your spouse, if applicable) being unable to pay for:

  • adequate food;
  • monthly mortgage/rent;
  • sufficient home heat;
  • prescribed medication; or
  • other required prescribed health care services.

For more information on eligibility and how to apply for a temporary reduction of your daily rate, please see:

Other Home and Community Care Services

For a full list of the types of care that are publicly subsidized in B.C., see:

Who is my responsible assessor?

Your responsible assessor is a health authority employee who is responsible for completing your financial assessment(s).  The name and/or contact information for your responsible assessor is included in the client rate notification letter that is mailed out in the fall of each year.

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