We are here for families.
Canuck Place is committed to providing care that support children and families unique and changing needs.
We work closely with a variety of organizations that may provide assistance to families caring for children with progressive, life-threatening illnesses.
Members of the Canuck Place clinical team are able to assist you in learning more about the resources available in your community and support you in making appropriate referrals.
Note: any external links provided are for reference only and Canuck Place is not responsible for the content presented.
COVID-19: Information for Families
During this challenging time, we want to assure you that our team at Canuck Place continues to deliver critical are for children and families.
- We continue to provide care to children and families, including with admissions to both hospice locations.
- Due to the need to minimize numbers of people in the facility and support support social distancing, we cannot have siblings of children admitted to the hospice for respite or symptom management stays. Siblings may come with parents/guardians of a child admitted for end-of-life care. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please discuss with the intake nurse.
- We are continually assessing and modifying practices as needed to ensure we are following best practices for infection prevention and control, and are taking guidance from our partners in the regional health authorities, PHSA and the BCCDC.
- We are screening all children and families coming for inpatient or outpatient care (clinical or counselling) for the presence of respiratory symptoms and travel history and are requiring anyone with symptoms stay away from the hospice.
- We have changed some of our practices to increase social distancing, are reinforcing hand hygiene, cough etiquette.
- When possible we are using virtual care to support children and families, including for clinical support, counselling, and bereavement.
- Many of our non-clinical and support colleagues are working from home whenever and wherever possible.
- Our 24/7 clinical care line is always here for families and health care provider colleagues around the province.
Resources for Families
Take the BC COVID-19 SPEAK Survey. From the BC Centre for Disease Control, the survey is the first of several activities that will help strengthen our pandemic response and the provinces understanding of the impacts of COVID-19 to date (social, economical, mental wellness and community wellness.)
If you are worried about COVID-19 or would like more information please have a look at these resources:
Information for families of children with medical complexities.
- Q&A for families of children with medical complexity
- Q&A for families of children with immune suppression
- BC Children’s Hospital
British Columbia Pediatric Society- COVID-19 Resources
Government & Business Support
The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) will provide $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household, for eligible Canadians unable to work because they must care for:
- a child under age 12 due to the closures of schools or daycares because of COVID-19.
- a family member with a disability or a dependent because their day program or care facility is closed due to COVID-19.
- a child, a family member with a disability, or a dependent who is not attending school, daycare, or other care facilities under the advice of a medical professional due to being at high-risk if they contract COVID-19.
Federal: CERB, EI
Ministry of Children & Family Development (MCFD) Emergency Relief Fund.
Provincial: Action Plan
Clinical Resources: Counselling & Bereavement
We are here for families. Our counselling team is using technology to continue with grief and bereavement counselling to continue critical services for children and families.
Family Events and Meetings
Clinical Resources: Recreation Therapy
At Canuck Place, we know the importance of connection and fun. Our Recreation Therapy Program is a key component to helping families live life the fullest. We want to share some of the activities happening in rec therapy and keep you connected to the fun!
Inspired by Rec Therapy
We know many families are currently practicing physical distancing at home, so we thought we would share some of our favourite recreation therapy activities that you can enjoy at home with your family!
Explore the World:
Animal and Landscape cams: https://explore.org/livecams
Toronto Zoo live Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheTorontoZoo
Vancouver Aquarium live cams: https://www.vanaqua.org/live-cams
National Geographic for kids: https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/
Science World: https://www.scienceworld.ca/today/feature-exhibition/
Clinical Resources: School Room
Through our school program and arts and crafts activities, we encourage children to develop and thrive.
While BC classrooms look a little different due to COVID-19, our school program as moved online. Check out some amazing resources and catch-up on the Canuck Place classroom here: https://blogs.vsb.bc.ca/cpch/
General Resources and Feedback
Children and Family Rights and Responsibilities
We are here for families. Canuck Place is committed to providing care that addresses the child and their family’s unique and changing needs throughout the progression of the illness and afterwards.
Decisions around care are always made in the best interest of the child. If there is a difference of opinion based on clinical assessment, there will be further discussion together with the healthcare team about the next steps.
You and your child/youth will have the right to:
- Be informed about the care being given by Canuck Place in terms and languages that you and your child can understand
- Participate in decisions and in the development of your child/youth’s care plan
- Have access to your record and information about you
- Ask for and receive help
- Be treated with respect, compassion and courtesy, even when your views may differ
- Privacy and confidentiality
- Ask for clarification about the care you/your child/youth is receiving and to discuss this care with other health care providers
- Receive care that is sensitive to you/your child/family’s needs and cultural, racial and religious heritage.
- Decline healthcare services that are offered to you
In return, you and your child/youth are responsible to:
- Discuss any concerns with the health care team
- Identify your needs to a staff member
- Treat the House, staff, and other families with respect.
- Follow Canuck Place guidelines established for families (Family Handbook)
- Provide complete and accurate health information about past and present matters.
Canuck Place families have a direct impact on the care and services we deliver. We welcome and encourage all feedback whether positive or constructive.
How to Submit Feedback, Questions and Concerns
If you have any questions, concerns, or feedback about the quality of care and services provided by Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, or feel your rights are not being met, we encourage you to first discuss your concerns with your healthcare team or with the manager/director of the program area for assistance.
You are welcome to complete an online Feedback Form and we also have print forms available in our family suites, dining areas, and upon request at our front desks. All concerns will be taken seriously and followed up.
If your complaint remains unresolved after discussing the issue with the Canuck Place Care team, you may wish to contact the Licensing Officer of the Office of the Chief Medical Health Officer of either Health Authority.
- Vancouver hospice complaints: contact Vancouver Coastal Health at 604-675-3800
- Abbotsford hospice complaints: contact Fraser Health at 604-587-3936
An incident is an occurrence that affects or potentially affects your child or a family member. Examples are a medication error or a fall of a family member due to a wet floor. A manager/supervisor investigates the incident with the family and staff and identifies actions to be taken to prevent the incident from happening again. All incidents are then reviewed by different safety committees to see if there are common issues that require new procedures or education,
If you notice an incident please tell your nurse.
A clinical team member can gather the relevant information, complete the documentation and submit for investigation and identification for improvements in our systems.
Child & Family Community Resources
The BC Legal Services Society provides legal aid services in BC.
The mandate of the Public Guardian and Trustee of BC is to:
- Protect the legal and financial interests of children under the age of 19 years
- Protect the legal, financial and in some cases personal and health care interests of adults who require assistance in decision making
- Administer the estates of deceased and missing persons
The Representative for Children and Youth supports children, youth and families who need help in dealing with the child welfare system, and advocates for changes to the system itself.
The BC Coalition of People with Disabilities (BCCPD) specializes in issues impacting the lives of people with disabilities through our direct services, community partnerships, advocacy, research and publications.
Canuck Place is also able to assist families in matters related to advocacy. To learn more, speak with our clinical team.
The Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act defines a person with disabilities as a person who is at least 18 years of age, with a severe physical or mental impairment that is expected to continue for at least two years.
A person with the PWD designation may be eligible for:
- Monthly support and shelter assistance
- Medical coverage which includes Medical Services Plan and PharmaCare coverage with no deductible, as well as other health supplements such as dental and optical coverage
- A $500 earnings exemption per month
- A low-cost annual bus pass
- Exemptions from time limits and employment obligations for receiving assistance
The Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre is a non-profit, charitable organization. Nidus provides information to British Columbians about personal planning. Personal planning is the act of making one or more legal documents that authorize your personal supporters to help you manage your affairs or make decisions on your behalf if you need assistance due to illness, injury or disability.
Choice in Supports for Independent Living (CSIL) is an alternative for eligible home support clients. CSIL was developed to give British Columbians with daily personal care needs more flexibility in managing their home support services.
The GF Strong Adolescent and Young Adult Program offers young people with acquired or congenital disabilities, living in British Columbia and the Yukon, with an opportunity to address their rehabilitation needs and the transitional tasks of adolescence.
Bridges to the Future is a community based resource program designed to help youth gain independence as they transition toward adulthood. The program was created in 2002 to support youth between the ages of 15-24 with physical disabilities. The program is situated in Victoria but serves residents of BC and the Yukon.
Canuck Place Resource Materials
The Family Handbook is a publication for families joining the Canuck Place program. It describes what families need to know about the care and services offered, guidelines and policies and other helpful information.
Parenting a Dying Child Resource Package
Parenting a Dying Child consists of 30 pamphlets that cover topics such as:
- Critical decision making
- Pain and symptom management
- Emotional issues of the patient & family members
- Talking about death and dying
- After death and moving on
The team who developed this resource package includes staff from Canuck Place Children’s Hospice: Camara Van Breemen, CNS and Jennifer Ham, Nurse Clinician and staff from BC Children’s Hospital: Cindy Stuzer, CNS and Edna Durbach, Director of Patient and Family Education (retired).
Financial assistance for this project provided in part by the Diamond Heart Foundation, in coordination with the Soothe the Soul event.
Helpline for Children: Province of BC
Children and youth need to know that there are supports to help them if they feel unsafe. The BC Helpline for Children is a toll free number and can be used anywhere in the province.
If you have a concern about the safety and well-being of a child call 310-1234.
As a residential facility, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice wants to ensure that all children, youth and families are informed of their right to contact emergency services and the Helpline for Children operated by the Ministry of Children and Family Development. When staying at Canuck Place Children/Youth have access to phones in the hospice; in the family suites, family library and/or can ask to use the cellphone at Kids Counter in the hospice.
Canuck Place works closely with a variety of organizations that may provide assistance to families caring for children with progressive, life threatening illnesses.
The Personal Supports website contains information about and links to programs that provide equipment and assistive devices or other personal supports to persons with disabilities in British Columbia.
Partnership for Parents is a support network for Parents of Children with Serious Illnesses.
Lotsa Helping Hands is a free, private, web-based communities for organizing friends, family, and colleagues – your ‘circles of community’ – during times of need. Easily coordinate activities and manage volunteers with our intuitive group calendar.
The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a unique federation of voluntary health organizations dedicated to helping people and families with rare “orphan” diseases and assisting the organizations that serve them.
The Tiny Light Foundation is a non profit organization that provides professional photography for children and families that have been faced with a life altering diagnoses.
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep mobilizes professional quality photographers to provide beautiful heirloom portraits to families facing the untimely death of an infant.
When there are no resources available to pay for funeral expenses, the Ministry of Social Development may assist with these costs.
The Ministry of Health offers an accommodation assistance program to enable families to stay together when their child requires medical care at BC Children’s Hospital or Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children, including premature babies and newborns with other health concerns.
Information about what to expect when visiting BC Children’s Hospital.
An online resource supporting the grief journey.
A quick guide to options for school for children on the Canuck Place program
In BC, families have three options for their child’s schooling. Your child may:
- Attend a regular school (public or independent)
- Attend a Distance Learning school (public or independent)
You can register your child at a regular school, which may be a Public or Independent school.
- Teacher(s) Your child will have a Classroom Teacher and a Resource Teacher/ Case Manager. The resource teacher overseas the education of all children who need learning support in that school.
- Special needs funding Your child will be evaluated by the school to determine if they qualify for a Ministry of Education Special Needs Designation which provides additional funding (to the School District) to support your child’s learning.
- Independent Education Plan An IEP (Independent Education Plan) is written for your child when they first enroll with a school. This would be completed with input from you, the teacher(s) and any current therapists etc. that you would like to be involved. The IEP is updated annually.
- Therapy The only therapy services provided by most school districts are speech-language pathology services and physiotherapy services. These services would be provided by therapists already employed by the school district and sometimes are only available on a limited basis.
- Nursing support You may apply for nursing support in school through Nursing Support Services. If your child qualifies you can expect to receive 30 hours of nursing support in school and perhaps another five hours of support for travelling to and from school.
- Education assistants A Student Support Worker (SSW)/Education Assistant (EA) will support your child in school. The level of support differs according to your child’s needs.If your child does not qualify for Nursing Support in school, most school districts will ask the local health authority to train EAs in the following aspects of care: positioning, G-tube feeding, respiration issues, glucose monitoring and seizure management. EAs may also be trained in sensory regulation, hygiene and dressing support, feeding support, learning classroom routines, managing disruptive behavior and access to instructional supports.
You can register your child with a Distributed Learning School (formerly known as online schools) which may be a Public or Independent school.
Distributed Learning is not the same as home schooling. With Distributed Learning the child’s curriculum is developed by a teacher and you are responsible for delivering the instruction in your home.
- Teacher(s) Your child will have either a Special Needs Teacher or a Classroom Teacher and a Special Needs Case Manager. The Case Manager overseas the education of all children who need learning support in that school.
- Special needs funding Your child will be evaluated by the school to see if they qualify for a Ministry of Education Special Needs Designation which provides additional funding (to the School) to support your child’s learning.
- Independent Education Plan An IEP (Independent Education Plan) is written for your child when they first register with a school. This would be completed with input from you, the teacher(s) and any current therapists etc. that you would like to be involved. The IEP is updated annually.
- The teacher(s) would communicate with you on a weekly basis to discuss your child’s curriculum and instruction.
- It is quite possible that the teacher would never actually meet your child.
- You would be expected to submit a brief report each week on your child’s progress. This may include input from therapists and can take the form of pictures, videos or writing. This is not an onerous task.
- Therapy Therapists for your child (if appropriate) are managed by the distance learning school. The school will engage therapists considered appropriate for your child. This may include speech-language pathology, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, music therapy, art therapy and aquatic therapy services. Parents often wish to find the therapists themselves to make sure they will be a good fit with their child and most schools are happy for the child to continue with any therapists already working with the child if that is the parents wish.
- Nursing support You may apply for nursing support during school hours through Nursing Support Services. If your child qualifies, you can expect to receive up to 15 hours of nursing support.
- Education Assistants Some families, after consultation with their Distributed Learning teacher, choose to use some of their child’s Special Needs funding to employ a part time Education Assistant/Support Worker. EAs in this situation do not need any medical training as there will always be a parent or nurse present. Please note that it can be difficult to find an EA to work part-time in your home.
- Links to two Distributed learning schools in BC are given below for your reference:
- EBUS (based in Vanderhoof) is a Public School http://ebus.ca/
- SelfDesign Learning (based in Vancouver) is an Independent School https://selfdesign.org/
There are many other public distributed learning schools in BC, including some district based schools.
You must register your child at a local school as a child being homeschooled.
All schooling, both curriculum development and delivery, is done at home by the parents. Limited funding is provided by the Ministry of Education and, as far as I understand, there is little or no extra funding for a child with special needs.
Family Advisory Council (FAC)
The Family Advisory Council provides direct feedback and input into Canuck Place.
Membership is comprised of up to thirteen (13) family members, one of whom is a Board member, whose children may benefit or have benefited from the services of Canuck Place and who are representative of the province and the programs offered.
Read our recent FAC Newsletters:
Financial & Medical Benefits
Child Disability Benefit
The Child Disability Benefit (CDB) is a tax-free benefit for families who care for a child under age 18 with a severe and prolonged impairment in mental or physical functions.
At Home Program
The At Home Program is a Province of BC program intended to assist parents with some of the extraordinary costs of caring for a child with severe disabilities at home. It provides assistance in two main areas:
- Respite Benefits allow parents to purchase respite services that best suit their needs.
- Medical Benefits provide a range of basic, essential medical items including: medical equipment, school-age therapies, orthotics, audiology equipment and dental services.
A child may be eligible for both Respite Benefits and Medical Benefits, or a choice of one benefit. Please refer to the At Home Program Guide for eligibility criteria:
- Canuck Place families traveling to the hospice for distances exceeding 80 km roundtrip are eligible for medical transportation reimbursements.
- Medical documentation confirming the dates of admission is provided to families by Canuck Place and is required by the At Home Program for reimbursement.
- Families requiring advance medical documentation can request this from our Intake Coordinator. Otherwise, families can request medical documentation from Canuck Place nurses or counselling team members while they are in house.
You can find more information in the At Home Program Info Sheet.
Nursing Support Services
Nursing Support Services (NSS) supports children and youth with special health care needs and their parents by providing comprehensive nursing services in their home, school and child care settings.
Child Care Subsidy & Child Care Subsidy with Special Needs
Child Care Subsidy is a monthly payment to assist eligible British Columbia families with the cost of child care based on financial need. Additional subsidies are available for children with a disability.
Parents of Critically Ill Children - Employment Insurance Benefits
The Parents of Critically Ill Children (PCIC) benefits (up to a maximum of 35 weeks) under Employment Insurance (EI) are available to parents who have to be absent from work to provide care or support to their critically ill or injured child.
Compassionate Care Benefits
Compassionate Care Benefits are Employment Insurance (EI) are a six-week benefit paid to people who have to be away from work temporarily to provide care or support to a family member who is gravely ill.
Ministry of Health Services Travel Assistance Program
The Travel Assistance Program (TAP) helps alleviate some of the transportation costs for eligible B.C. residents who must travel within the province for non-emergency medical specialist services not available in their own community.
Palliative Care Benefits
The BC Palliative Care Benefits Program supports individuals of any age who have reached the end stage of a life-threatening disease or illness and who wish to receive palliative care at home.
Healthy Kids Program
The Healthy Kids Program assists low income families with the costs associated with basic dental care and prescription eyewear for their children. Dependent children under 19 years of age, in families receiving any level of Medical Services Plan (MSP) premium assistance through the Ministry of Health, are eligible for the Healthy Kids Program.
Variety - The Children's Charity of BC
Variety provides funding to improve the quality of life for children with mental, physical or financial challenges throughout BC.
BC Lions Society
Children’s Medical Equipment Recycling Loan Service
The Children’s Medical Equipment Recycling Loan Service is a partnership between the Ministry of Children and Family Development and the Canadian Red Cross.
Communication Assistance for Youth and Adults
Communication Assistance for Youth and Adults (CAYA) is a Provincial Resource Program that supports adults aged 19 years and older who require an augmentative/alternative communication (AAC) system due to a severe communication disability, i.e. speech that is not functional for daily communication.
CanAssist is an organization at the University of Victoria that is dedicated both to helping people with disabilities improve their quality of life and to increasing awareness of disability issues.
Have more questions? You can also look at our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Families.
Follow us on social media!