Support at Home
Decrease FontIncrease FontPrintPrint

​What is home-based palliative care?

Home-based palliative care is care provided by nurses, care aides, social workers and rehabilitation therapists in people's homes.

People who receive home-based palliative services are individuals who:

  • have been diagnosed with a life limiting illness and a life expectancy of six months or less;
  • understand the philosophy of palliative care and are willing to accept and participate with this supportive approach to care that focuses on comfort;
  • understand the terminal nature of illness and agree that resuscitation is not appropriate, have signed a Medical Order for Scope of Treatment (M1, M2 or M3 levels) or provincial No CPR directive;
  • are registered with the BC Palliative Care Benefits

Who provides palliative care services at home? 

Professional health services for people in their homes are primarily provided by nurses, occupational therapists or physiotherapists, and social workers and are supported by community health workers. In some areas, doctors still make home visits. Volunteers (e.g., Hospice Society or from a church), spiritual leaders and friends and neighbours may help contribute to supporting a person who chooses to live out their final days at home. 

What types of services can be expected?

The health professionals will regularly assess the person's care needs as they change. They will work together to manage pain and other symptoms, provide emotional and spiritual support, and oversee all parts of the care provided in the home to meet the unique needs of the person and family.

Other services that they may provide include teaching family and caregivers how to give direct physical care (e.g., bathing, turning, mouth care, managing incontinence, etc.), prescribing medical equipment and supplies that make caregiving easier (e.g., beds, lifts, etc.), and organizing someone to come into the home so the caregiver may have a break (respite). Community health workers can provide basic personal care, medication and help with meals for the person. Volunteers and other community members may provide psychological, emotional and spiritual care and connection for both the individual and the family.

The days and hours of professional health services vary by community across Interior Health, and are supplemented with the provincial After Hours Palliative Nursing Service.

Planning a home death

In BC, an expected home death requires some planning and conversation with your doctor. In this province there is no legal requirement for the doctor or nurse to come to your home at the time of death.

However, forms signed by your doctor are needed to communicate appropriately with the Funeral Home or the BC Ambulance Service. 


MoH     PCQO