Grandmother and grandson blowing bubbles at a park
a senior couple using a laptop on the sofa at home

A palliative approach to care follows your values, beliefs and wishes, and can be provided in any setting including at home, outpatient clinics, long term care homes, hospitals and hospices. VCH offers a range of palliative care services.

How to access palliative care services

What is a palliative approach to care?

Palliative care is an approach to care for people living with serious illnesses* that considers the whole person, including their physical, psychological, social, and spiritual well-being. 

Palliative care is about maximizing the quality of life and reducing suffering, from diagnosis to end of life. It invites conversations to align care planning with the person's values, beliefs, and wishes. Palliative care can coexist alongside curative treatment and the hope for a longer life. 

A palliative approach to care can be helpful at any point. This includes from time of diagnosis and throughout the illness journey for anyone with a serious illness*. 

*Serious illnesses include dementia, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, frailty, and cancer, among others.

Costs for palliative and end-of-life care services

Depending on the type of services you require, there may be a cost for end-of-life care or palliative care services.

There is no cost for community nursing or rehabilitation services if you receive care at home. Some medications and palliative supplies, and equipment are available free of charge for eligible patients through B.C. Palliative Care Benefits. In addition, there is no cost for home support services if you are enrolled with B.C. Palliative Care Benefits. 

Learn more about B.C. Palliative Care Benefits, including eligibility requirements, a patient information sheet and list of approved medications.

If you require publicly subsidized hospice care, you will pay a fixed daily rate per day. The daily rate for short-stay services is adjusted each year. It is calculated by multiplying the minimum monthly rate for long-term care services by 12 months and dividing it by 365 days.

Find more information on the costs of publicly subsidized home and community care services in B.C.

B.C. Palliative Care Benefits

The intent of B.C. Palliative Care Benefits is to allow patients to receive palliative care at home rather than be admitted to hospital. The benefits give 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 benefits include full coverage of approved medications, equipment and supplies (upon referral to and assessment by the local health authority).

For more information on B.C. Palliative Care Benefits, including eligibility requirements, a patient information sheet and list of approved medications, go to:

B.C. Palliative Care Benefits on the Government of B.C website

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 if 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 decide on your behalf.

Advance Care Planning workshops 

Advance Care Planning on the Government of B.C. website

Conversations about what matters most

Those with a serious illness and those closest to them are welcome to bring forward what matters to them with a health-care provider and request open and honest communication at any time.

Expected/planned deaths in British Columbia

Some individuals who are nearing their end of life may wish to have a natural and expected death at home. Specialized palliative care services can offer a range of services to individuals and their family/support networks to ensure they feel informed, supported, and comfortable throughout this journey. If you or someone you know has a terminal illness and would like more information on planning an expected death at home, please see:

Expected/Planned Deaths in British Columbia

or access specialized palliative care services in your community

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD)

Individuals and their families have many decisions to make when faced with end-of-life care or intolerable suffering. It’s important for British Columbians to know and understand all the health-care options available to them. If medical assistance in dying is something you are interested in learning more about, please visit the following page: 

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD)


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