Referral, Admission & Consultation
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Referral, Admission & Consultation

Criteria for Admission

Children accepted to Canuck Place Children's Hospice are between the ages of 0-19 years of age.  The important factor in acceptance to our program is the presence of a progressive, life-threatening illness. 

Progressive refers to on-going deterioration of health and/or function. 
Life-threatening means that the child is likely to not live into adulthood (defined as early 20's).  They may die either because of a progressive disease process or because of disease effects and complications.  Some children are accepted when they are in slower progressing phases of their conditions, while others are acutely terminal.
For some of the conditions we see, prognosis is easier to predict, e.g. the child with cancer who is getting worse despite maximal oncological therapy.  For some, e.g. congenital metabolic diseases, this is harder to predict and the literature is often misleading.

We do not need absolute evidence that this specific child will not live until adulthood.

We look at several factors in determining acceptance to the Canuck Place program including:

  • Diagnosis -- What is known about the diagnosis and the condition according to the best evidence in the literature, expert opinion and current epidemiology.
  • The child's individual course -- Within any given diagnosis, some children will progress faster than others.
  • Presence of complications -- Complications may either be due to the disease itself, or to the treatment.
  • Readiness of the family to be in a palliative care program.

The diagnosis itself is not the full answer.  There are children with multi-handicaps who are "progressing" by the nature of their condition and treatment.  The child with a g-tube, j-tube, severe reflux, feeding intolerance, worsening seizures, and unrelenting episodes of aspiration pneumonia is demonstrating "progressive decline", even though the diagnosis is static.  Each case requires individual attention and review.

A Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) / Advanced Directives Form is not required, however Canuck Place does require the readiness to engage in thinking about the life-threatening nature of the child's condition.


Referral Process:

Referrals can be made to the Canuck Place program by family physicians, other medical professionals, neighbours, friends or families may refer themselves*. *The family must be aware, want and consent of the referral.

1)  Contact the Canuck Place Intake Coordinator and provide the following information:

  • The child's name;
  • date of birth;
  • personal health number;
  • parents' names;
  • contact information -- address, phone, email; and
  • physicians/health care professionals involved in child's care

2)  The Intake Coordinator will follow up on information from the child's physician, care provider and parents, and may request additional information

3)  The entire information is then reviewed by Canuck Place’s Intake Team

The Intake Team consists of physicians and nurses and other members of our interdisciplinary team

4)  If the child is eligible for the program, the parents/guardians are informed and advised of the programs available.


Urgent Referrals

For Urgent Referrals, please contact Canuck Place directly at 604.731.4847 or toll-free within BC at 1.877.882.2288

  • Request to speak the Clinical Nurse Specialist or Physician  or after-hours ask to speak to the Nurses at the Nurses Station.



For a referral, please contact the Canuck Place Intake Coordinator

By e-mail:
By telephone: 604.731.4847 (local 3476) or
Toll-free in BC: 1.877.882.2288 -- local 3476

Please contact us by telephone for all urgent calls.

Madison Outpatient Clinic

To make a routine clinic referral, please call the Madison Clinic at:

Download the Madison Clinic Referral Form

Please note: Madison Clinic does not replace the current processes for referrals directly to the Canuck Place program or for palliative care consultation.

For additional information on the shared pediatric palliative care outpatient clinic operating at BC Children's Hospital, see Our Program - Madison Outpatient Clinic section.