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. Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illness – whatever the diagnosis. Care can be provided wherever the client is living, whether at home, in hospice, an assisted living residence or a long-term care home.
End-of-life and palliative care services aim to preserve an individual’s comfort, dignity and quality of life as their needs change, and to offer on-going support for family and friends. These services include the following: care co-ordination and consultation, pain and symptom management, community nursing services, community rehabilitation services, home support, respite for the caregiver and hospice care.
How do I arrange for end-of-life care and palliative care services?
If you are interested in receiving end-of-life care or palliative care 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 professional make a referral on your behalf. For more information about how to arrange for care or eligibility for home and community care services, please see:
If you or someone you know has a terminal illness and would like assistance planning an expected death at home, please see:
If you or someone you know are seeking medical assistance in dying, please see:
Is there a cost for end-of-life care and palliative care services?
There may be a cost for end-of-life care or palliative care services, depending on the type of services you require.
There is no cost for community nursing services or community rehabilitation services if you are receiving care at home. Some medications and palliative supplies and equipment are available free of charge for eligible patients through the B.C. Palliative Care Benefits Program. In addition, there is no cost for home support services if you are enrolled with the B.C. Palliative Care Benefits Program. For more information, please see the “B.C. Palliative Care Benefits Program” section, below.
If you require publicly subsidized hospice care, you will pay a fixed daily rate of $38.23 per day. For more information on costs or eligibility for short-stay services (which includes hospice care), please see:
If payment of the fixed daily rate would cause you or your family serious financial hardship, or mean that you (or your spouse, if applicable) would be unable to maintain the family home or unit, you may be eligible for a reduced rate.
For more information on eligibility and how to apply for a temporary reduction of the daily rate, please see:
For more general information on the costs of publicly subsidized home and community care services in B.C., please see:
End-of-Life Care and Palliative Services in Long-Term Care Homes
Supportive and compassionate care can be provided to people who are nearing the end of their lives who are receiving long-term care services.
When first admitted to a long-term care home, a person’s immediate needs are assessed, and a transitional care plan is made. Usually within six weeks of admission, the care is reviewed with the person’s family as the person settles in the new environment.
End-of-life and palliative care services available to clients receiving long-term care services include:
- Pain and symptom assessment and management
- Psychological care
- Loss and grief support for family caregivers
- Access to specialized prescription medication, supplies and equipment.
These services are also available to clients receiving short-stay services.
For more information on long-term care services and benefits provided, please see:
B.C. Palliative Care Benefits Program
The B.C. Palliative Care Benefits Program supports B.C. residents of any age who have reached the end stage of a life-threatening illness and want to receive medically-appropriate palliative care at home. ‘Home’ is wherever the person is living, whether in their own home, with family or friends, in an assisted living residence or in a hospice that is not a licensed community care facility covered under PharmaCare Plan B.
The intent of the B.C. Palliative Care Benefits Program is to allow patients to receive palliative care at home rather than be admitted to hospital. The program gives palliative patients access to the same drug benefits they would receive in hospital, and access to some medical supplies and equipment from their health authority.
The program includes full coverage of approved medications, equipment and supplies (upon referral to and assessment by the local health authority).
For more information on the B.C. Palliative Care Benefits Program, including eligibility requirements, a patient information sheet and list of approved medications, go to:
Advance Care Planning
Advance care planning involves you, as a capable adult, thinking and talking about your beliefs and values, and writing down your wishes or instructions regarding future health care treatment in the event you become incapable of speaking for yourself or making your own decisions. Advance care planning enables those who know you best to speak up for you and respect your wishes if asked to make a decision on your behalf.
For more information about advance care planning, go to: