Navigating the Healthcare System

By Barbara Small

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The Home and Community Care program (HCC) of the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) provides community-based health services intended to support people with an acute or chronic illness or a physical disability to remain at home, as independently as possible.

The services a client is eligible for are based on a standard assessment of needs; may be provided on a short- or long-term basis; and may be subsidized according to the client’s income or provided at no cost. Other health authorities throughout B.C. provide similar services.

Teams of healthcare professionals deliver HCC services to eligible clients. Below is a list of some of these health care professionals and the services they provide:


Case managers conduct assessments to determine eligibility for home supports, suitability for adult day programs or placement in assisted living and residential care facilities. They will work with the client and the client’s family to address his or her health care goals. Case managers also provide ongoing co-ordination of services.


Liaison case managers work in the hospital to organize the community supports necessary to discharge clients safely home or assess for residential facility care placement from a hospital stay.


Home support (community health workers) provide in-home care to assist individuals to continue living independently in their home and provide respite to family caregivers. They offer personal assistance with bathing, dressing, grooming, hygiene and toileting.


Community rehabilitation services provide home-based physiotherapy and occupational therapy services in order to help a person remain living at home safely.


Adult day programs provide support in a group setting for older adults, especially those with chronic illness or cognitive impairments. Day centres offer opportunities to socialize, have a hot meal and participate in recreational and health maintenance activities.


Victoria Innovative Seniors Treatment Approach (VISTA) offers a program for seniors experiencing day-to-day problems with the misuse of alcohol and/or prescription drugs or elder abuse issues.


Clinical nutritionists help a person maintain optimal nutritional health while living at home by providing assessment, consultation and education.


Quick Response Team provides crisis intervention at home to eligible clients when required, aimed at preventing avoidable hospital admission, provide crisis intervention at home and facilitate early hospital discharge. The QRT team includes physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, nurses and home support workers.


Anyone can make a referral to the Home and Community Care program. Each region of VIHA has a HCC General Enquiries Line. For those who live in the South Island region call 250-388-2273, Central Island 250-734-4101 or North Island 250-898-2255. The above information can be found in more detail on the VIHA website at This website also includes a helpful booklet that can be downloaded entitled, *Home and Community Care, A Guide to Your Care*.


For additional assistance in navigating the healthcare system and finding resources, call the Family Caregivers’ Network Society at 250-384-0408.


FCNS is offering a workshop for family caregivers on April 4 entitled Navigating the Healthcare System. Visit for more details.

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