Resource Guide for Family Caregivers
How can I access home-based care services (and what are the costs)?

Anyone can make a referral to the Home and Community Care program (the Health Authority’s program that oversees home-based care services). If you live in the Vancouver Island Health Authority (South Island) region, there is both a local General Enquiries phone number: (250) 388-CARE (2273), and a toll-free number: 1-888-533-2273.

When you contact General Enquiries, you will be connected with Central Intake. The Central Intake staff will ask a series of questions over the phone to determine the priority level of the person in need of assistance/care. Only those screened as medium or high priority will be referred for case management services, to be able to access subsidized home support services and all Home and Community Care services.  People screened as low priority may be redirected to other Community Health Program services, provided with information and, where appropriate, referred to resources and community services appropriate to meet their needs (e.g., the types of services, programs and resources described in Section 7 of this Resource Guide). Low priority individuals will not be referred for case management services or be eligible for subsidized home support.

The priority given to an individual’s needs is determined by reviewing care needs, current supports, and immediate risks. Some of the factors considered are:

  • if the individual is over the age of 85
  • if assistance with activities of daily living (shopping, housekeeping) is needed
  • if a greater degree of assistance with daily living is required (bathing, personal care)
  • the person’s cognitive functioning
  • medications
  • level of mobility
  • if falls have occurred, or if the person is at risk of falls
  • if there is a support system in place (i.e., the degree to which family members, friends, neighbours are able to provide assistance)
  • if there are any abuse issues
  • if there is a limited ability to pay
  • if acute care admission has occurred

Risk to the individual if service is not provided immediately is considered, especially if there is a risk of illness or injury and/or if family caregiver stress/breakdown is evident.  If, as a result of Central Intake telephone screening, the person is determined to be high or medium priority, a Long Term Care Case Manager is assigned and will make a home visit to further assess whether the person is eligible for subsidized home support service and other home-based care programs offered through Community Health Programs. The level of risk/need also determines the number of hours of home support that an individual may receive. Subsidies for home support are based on a sliding scale in relation to the person’s income.

If, as a result of Central Intake telephone screening, the person is determined to be low priority, yet home support or other home-based care services are still desired by the individual requiring care and/or the family, services can be arranged privately. As noted above, however, in these situations the home support service will be not subsidized. Nevertheless, the person requiring assistance or his/her family caregivers can contact the Home Support Agency of their choice. This also holds true for individuals who are receiving some subsidized home support but want additional hours.