Long-term care homes provide professional care and supervision to adults in a supportive and secure environment. The services are available to people with complex care needs and physical and/or mental health conditions who cannot live safely and independently at home.
Long-term care may also be known as extended care, residential care, nursing home care or geriatric care facility.
What to expect
All homes in British Columbia meet provincial quality standards and have been granted a license under either the Provincial Community Care Facilities Licensing Act or Provincial Hospital Act. They must also meet health, safety and fire regulations and building codes.
Long-term care provides 24-hour professional care in a supportive environment. Trained staff assists with personal care and daily living activities, such as bathing, dressing and managing medications. Long-Term care also offers a variety of therapeutic and recreational activities.
While services such as meals, laundry and housekeeping are provided for you, every effort is made to help maintain your independence. The goal of VCH is to provide a high level of clinical care in a person-centred manner.
Homes fall into three categories:
Homes that VCH directly operates
The government partially subsidizes these. Additional details relating to cost are covered in the FAQs section. Our VCH community care licensing office ensures the following standards are met:
- 24-hour professional nursing and personal care,
- accommodation in a safe and secure environment,
- nutritious meals,
- medication management,
- recreational activity programs and
- support and relief for families and loved ones who are providing care.
Only a case manager, hospital discharge or transition services coordinator can help you find out if you qualify for subsidized long-term care.
Homes operated by providers that have a contract with VCH
These are supported, but not directly operated, by VCH. Most of these rooms are partially subsidized by the government, but some homes also offer private pay rooms. Private pay rooms are not subsidized, meaning the resident covers all costs.
Homes that aren’t connected with VCH
These homes only have private pay rooms. Because private pay homes are not connected with VCH, you need to contact these sites directly regarding the information relating to their costs and services.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is long-term care the right choice?
If you find that your daily care needs and health issues make it difficult to continue living in your home, it may be time for you to look at a safer alternative.
The decision to move into long-term care is very personal.
Vancouver Coastal Health believes the best quality of life is achieved by remaining in one's home environment for as long as possible. To this end, your home health and community care case manager will complete an assessment and help you explore your care options. When you are no longer able to stay at home with assistance, your local home health and community care office is available to assist you with options.
Is there a cost for long-term care?
Publicly subsidized long-term care costs a monthly fee based on 80% of your after-tax income, with set minimum and maximum rates.
As long-term care is considered your home, you may be required to pay additional fees for services or items you would pay for living on your own. For example, there may be additional fees for things like equipment or aids, optional activities, and hairdressing services. You will be told about all fees before you move in.
How do I arrange for long-term care services?
If you live at home, your first task is to ask a case manager to be assigned to you.
If you are at the hospital, your care team will coordinate services. When you no longer need the level of care a hospital provides, the hospital team will have a care conference to help you plan your living arrangements after discharge.
How do I decide which home is best for me?
Because every person has different needs and interests, it is important to research the homes before choosing the best one for you. Some things to consider include the home's location, spoken language, and programs and therapeutic activities offered. At the back of this guide, there is a list of suggested questions that you may want to ask when looking at different homes.
When you meet with your case manager, you must discuss what you are looking for in a new home, as it will help them better meet your needs. Not all homes may be able to meet your needs, so it will be important that your selection of preferred homes can all meet your care needs. Your case manager, social worker or care home consultant will be able to provide you with more details about the services available in the care homes. Virtual tours of the care homes are available on our website. Once you have narrowed the selection, it is also a good idea for you and/or someone you trust to visit the homes you are interested in. Homes ask that you phone ahead and book a tour, so that staff can be available to show you around and answer your questions.
Finally, individual care homes have information brochures and websites.
What are the following steps to moving into my new home?
Before you move in
When a room in a preferred care home is offered, it is expected that you will move in immediately, usually within 48 hours. If an interim home is offered, you will have up to 72 hours to decide. Because of this, you must prepare in advance for the move. Some of the things that you may want to do include the following:
- Confirm whether your doctor will continue to provide medical care after the move or, if not, ask for a referral for another physician.
- Talk about your future wishes for medical treatment with your family and doctor; • Review your eligibility for available benefits, such as Guaranteed Income Supplement.
- Make a list of places that will need a change of address notification, including the post office, British Columbia Medical Services Plan, bank and credit card, insurance company, magazines and newspapers.
- Arrange for friends, family, volunteers or an agency to help with packing and moving.
- Decide what personal items you would like to bring with you to the home (this may be limited due to the physical space in the home).
- Plan your budget to include the costs of long-term care accommodation and additional costs, such as cable, newspapers and telephone.
Moving in from your home
When a room becomes available, your case manager will call you or your contact person to offer you a room and inform you of your expected move-in date (within 48 hours for a preferred care home and 72 hours for an interim care home. The home will also contact you to discuss when to arrive, what you should bring, your transportation arrangements, and who should come to help with moving in.
The move may be stressful, but there are steps that you can take to help ensure a smoother transition. A checklist is provided at the end of the guide that will help you keep track of helpful information. Please contact your case manager, the home’s director of care, long-term care coordinator or the social worker if you have questions or concerns.
Moving in from the hospital
If you are moving to a home from the hospital, your hospital team will work with you, your family and the home to make the arrangements for your move.
Becoming comfortable in your new home
Any move to a new home can be stressful. It takes time to become comfortable with your new surroundings and familiar with the people in your new community. Support from your family and friends is very important during this time. Homes encourage your family and friends to visit, participate in activities and outings with you, and will often host events that everyone can attend.
Some suggestions for ensuring an easier transition include participating in recreational activities, as this will allow you to interact with the residents and make new friends; asking the staff to take you on a tour of your new home, as this will give you a chance to find out where everything is located; bringing mementos, pictures and other comforts to make your new home comfortable and familiar; and asking for the home’s resident handbook, which provides information on the home, including programs and services.
Most homes hold a care conference six to eight weeks after you have moved into the home. You and your family are usually invited. At this meeting, the plan for your care is reviewed, and your concerns may be discussed. The care planning process also involves discussing your specific requests for treatment, such as life support, and other important issues, such as identifying someone who can speak on your behalf if you cannot do so. Please speak with your care team.
Your new home will offer programs and support to help during this transition time. Discuss your needs and concerns with the staff so that they are aware of how you are doing and how they can better support you. In Vancouver, each home has a care home consultant who can work closely with you.
How do I transfer to a preferred home?
Every effort will be made to offer you a room in one of your preferred care homes, however, sometimes, a room will become available in a care home that is not one of your preferred homes. If this happens, you will remain on the waitlist for your preferred care homes.
Since your needs may change while you wait to transfer, your care team will always verify that your preferred care home can provide the care you need. If your care needs have changed, your care team will help to find alternate care homes that can meet your needs. When an appropriate vacancy comes up at your preferred care home, you can accept the transfer, or you may decide that you want to stay where you are.
The amount of time before you can move will depend on the number of other people waiting to transfer to that home. You may change your mind anytime if you want to stay at your current home.
Eligibility and choosing preferred homes
Access to long-term care is based on a person's assessed need and risk. It is for adults with complex health care needs requiring 24-hour professional care due to physical disability or mental or behavioural conditions, including brain injuries or dementia.
- Adults aged 19 or over
- Lived in British Columbia for at least three months
- Canadian citizen or permanent resident status. You must be a landed immigrant or be on a Minister's permit approved by the Ministry of Health Services.
- Unable to function independently because of chronic, health-related problems or have been diagnosed by a doctor with an end-stage illness
Home and community care services have general eligibility criteria based on citizenship, residency, age and health condition, and specific criteria for each service based on your assessed needs.
Choosing preferred homes
Long-term care priority access is based on your choice of up to 3 preferred care homes. As the length of waitlists for homes varies, you may be offered a place in the home that is not one of your preferred homes. You can choose to accept this temporary home and continue to wait for one of your preferred homes from the temporary home, or you can choose not to accept this interim offer and continue to wait for one of your preferred care homes from home. This can be discussed with the case manager or, once in the home, with the home’s director of care, long-term care coordinator, social worker or care home consultant.
If you do not get into your preferred home initially, you will be offered an interim care home. If you accept the interim care home, you will maintain your spot on the waitlist for your preferred care home. When a new bed becomes available in your preferred location, you can accept or decline it.
Consent is required for admissions to long-term care homes. If an adult is not capable of providing consent, someone acting on their behalf will be asked to consent to a specific care home. For more information, please visit the Ministry of Health website or speak with your healthcare provider
Do you have more questions?
For further information about long-term care home access in Vancouver Coastal Health, contact the following:
In the community, contact your Home Health office:
- Vancouver (604) 263-7377
- West Vancouver (604) 983-6700
- Whistler (604) 815-6859
- North Vancouver (604) 983-6700
- Richmond (604) 278-3361
- Squamish (604) 815-6859
- Pemberton (604) 815-6859
- Sechelt (604) 741-0726
- Bella Bella (250) 957-2314
- Bella Coola (604) 799-5339
- Gibsons (604) 741-0726
- Powell River (604) 485-3310
In a long-term care home, contact the director of care, care-home consultant, social worker or long-term care coordinator.
In the hospital, contact your hospital team or discharge planner.