How to Arrange for Care

Last updated on April 26, 2024

If you wish to arrange for home and community care services, it will be helpful if you know how to contact your health authority, how to prepare for an assessment if required, what is involved in making decisions about your care and developing your care plan, and what to expect once you have been approved for services.

Contact your Home and Community Care Office

If you are interested in receiving home and community care services or know of someone who might be in need of these services, you can contact the home and community care office in your health authority to request an assessment for services.

Health care professionals, such as a doctor, nurse, pharmacist or social worker, can also make a referral on your behalf.

If you are in hospital and believe you will need assistance when you return home, you can ask your doctor, nurse or social worker to contact the home and community care office of your local health authority to determine your eligibility and if appropriate, arrange for services when you return home.

If you are ready to apply for home and community care services, please find your health authority's home and community care contact information using the links below.

When a request for an assessment is received by your local home and community care office, a health care professional will contact you to determine your eligibility for services and arrange to have a needs assessment conducted if appropriate.

If an assessment is not required or if you are not eligible for home and community care services, you may be referred to other appropriate resources.

Prepare for an Assessment

If an assessment is required, a health care professional will visit with you to discuss your situation and assess your health care needs, and determine:

  • Your eligibility for home and community care services;
  • What services best meet your needs and situation;
  • How long you need these services for; and
  • The costs, if any, for these services.

What do I need to have ready for the assessment?

  • Your B.C. Care Card or BC Services Card;
  • The name and phone number of your doctor or any other doctor(s) you have visited; 
  • The name and address of a close relative or friend;
  • Any prescription or other medication you are taking; 
  • Income information and pension cheque stubs; and 
  • Your most recent income tax return or notice of assessment.

Because the client rate for some services is based on income level, you may be asked about your income. The income tax return provides this information.

You may also wish to make a list of any questions you have about home and community care services and any information you think would be helpful in assessing your needs. For example, the health care professional conducting the assessment will need to know if a physiotherapist or doctor is treating you.

You may want to have a family member or a friend with you during the assessment visit to provide support and assistance. Besides discussing the amount and type of assistance you already receive, they may be able to help you answer questions.

It is important that the health care professional fully understand your health care situation and needs. Please ask questions if you are not sure about what services are available to you.

If you have documented your wishes about the health care you want to receive, at the moment or in the future, in an advance care plan or a similar document such as a representation agreement, bring this to the attention of your family and health care providers and have a copy with you during the assessment.

How am I involved in decision-making about my care?

You have the right to consent to care that is offered to you by your health authority. Before you make a decision, it is important that you feel everything has been explained to your satisfaction.  If you are unsure or do not understand something, ask for an explanation.

Develop a Care Plan

If you are eligible for services, a health care professional will work with you, your family and your caregiver(s) to develop a care plan that meets your needs. The care plan will be updated as your care situation changes.

Your care plan becomes the guide for all of your caregivers, helping to make sure you get the care that is right for you.

Start Services

When the health care professional develops a care plan with you and your family, they will talk about how long it might take for services to start. Part of the assessment process includes determining the urgency of your need for a particular service, which will be taken into account in deciding your priority for access to that service.

If there is a waiting list for the services that best meet your needs, the health care professional will work with you to ensure that the best services are in place to address your health care needs while you are waiting.

Provincial Home and Community Care Policy provides direction to the health authorities on how they should prioritize access to services, using something called “urgency criteria”.

Urgency Criteria

Determining urgency is part of the assessment performed by a health authority health care professional who is knowledgeable about various health conditions. “Urgency” usually refers to urgency of a person’s health care need, but there are other factors that are taken into consideration such as an individual’s social supports.

In community health care, the criteria for urgency will vary, depending on the person’s individual circumstances including their health condition, and the service they may require to meet their health care needs.

Health authorities must prioritize assessment of individuals who are referred for home and community care services, and their subsequent access to the relevant service(s), based on:

  • urgency of health care need;
  • availability of caregivers and community supports;
  • potential risk from abuse, neglect or self-neglect in present living situation arising from ability of the client and/or their caregiver to manage their health and daily living needs; and
  • length of time awaiting an assessment.

Individuals who are assessed as having the highest care needs or as living at the highest levels of risk may be seen as having greater urgency than other individuals, and will receive priority access to the relevant home and community care service.

Choosing a Residential Care Facility

How do you decide which long-term care home is best for you?  This booklet has information and examples of things to consider when choosing a long-term care home: 

Types of Publicly Subsidized Care

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