Accessing services

How does the process work?

The needs of seniors and people with disabilities are unique. If you or a member of your family needs a Home and Community Care service, we would recommend you contact the Home Health / Community Services office nearest you. 

Home and Community Care services are designed to complement and supplement, but not replace, the efforts of individuals to care for themselves with the assistance of family, friends and community.

More details

Eligibility requirements

If you or a family member wants to receive Home and Community Care services, such as home care nursing, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be a resident of British Columbia
  • Be a Canadian citizen or have permanent resident status*
  • Require care following discharge from a hospital, care at home rather than hospitalization, or care because of a terminal illness

For subsidized services, such as home support or day programs, and to receive the services of a case manager, you or your family member must:

  • Be 19 years of age or older
  • Have lived in British Columbia for at least 3 months
  • Be a Canadian citizen or have permanent resident status*
  • Be unable to function independently because of chronic health-related problems or have been diagnosed with an end-stage illness

* Landed immigrant or on a Minister’s permit approved by the Ministry of Health Services.


Referral process

Individuals who may require health care or personal support services can be referred to Home Health for an assessment of their needs.

A referral can be made by:

  • The individual 
  • A family member 
  • The hospital 
  • The family doctor
  • A friend or community group

When someone contacts or is referred to Home Health, a professional staff member will assess their situation, need and eligibility.


Application process

Any person, family member, family doctor, or community group (such as seniors' centre) is welcome to make a referral to Home and Community Care on your behalf.

Home and Community Care will assess your situation, needs, and eligibility for services. Information will be provided on any client rate contributions for services that may be applicable. The assessment can take place at home, or you can go to one of the Home Health / Community Services Offices. The goal is to help people with complex needs live at home safely and to avoid unnecessary or premature admission to a hospital or care facility.

A Home Health case manager will work closely with you, and family and friends to:

  • Determine eligibility for services 
  • Assess your needs
  • Determine what kind of services are needed
  • Determine whether there will be any costs involved for certain services, plan, coordinate, and monitor several care services

Individuals who are eligible for Home Health services may be seen within a day or two, or in several days, depending on the urgency of need. While every attempt is made to accommodate exceptional or urgent circumstances, Home Health services are not emergency services.

Some people with more complex health care needs may require extra, ongoing support to live at home independently, and that is why Home Health provides care coordination through Case Managers.

During the assessment process, it will be determined whether or not a Case Manager is needed to provide enhanced care coordination services. If you do not require home and community care services, you may be directed to other community resources that can meet your needs.

For more information on Home Health Services, contact your local Home Health / Community Services office.


Assessment process

The assessment can take place at home, or you can go to one of the Home Health offices. A Home Health case manager will work closely with you and your family and friends to assess your needs, and determine what kind of services are needed, eligibility for services, whether there will be any costs involved based on your financial situation, and coordinate your care services.

Once you have been assessed as eligible for, and in need of, assisted living or a long-term care home your name is placed on a waitlist. Priority will be given to clients with the highest need and who are at greatest risk.

While every attempt is made to accommodate exceptional or urgent circumstance, Home Health services are not emergency services.


Being waitlisted/Priority access

If you’ve been assessed as needing a long term care home, you will be given the opportunity to choose three preferred care homes to be waitlisted for. Access to a long term care home is on a priority basis, considering your needs, current supports and urgency of your situation. You may be offered an interim care home while waiting for your preferred care home. You will retain your wait list date for your preferred care home if you choose to move into the interim care home.


Substitute decision makers

The term “substitute decision maker” refers to a person chosen to make health decisions that you would make, if you are unable to: often a spouse, a son, or daughter, or other relative in accordance with the law. 

Anyone receiving health care services through Northern Health will often be required to sign a consent for services, and consent to share your personal information for the purpose of providing services. In the event an individual is unable to sign on their own behalf, a substitute decision maker would be asked to express your decisions and sign consent forms on your behalf. 

Choosing a reliable substitute decision maker or health representative is an important decision in planning for your future health care needs. You are encouraged to discuss this topic with your family members and your health care provider. Find out more information on substitute decision makers at Speak Up - Advance Care Planning Canada