For Health Professionals

Members of the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice Clinical Team are able to assist you in learning more about the admission criteria as well as the referral process. Please see our complete list of links below.

Criteria for Admission

Children accepted to Canuck Place 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.

The Diagnosis

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 look at several factors in determining acceptance to the Canuck Place program including the list provided below.

The diagnosis itself is not the full answer. Each case requires individual attention and review.

When presented with a referral, the team looks for:

  • Evidence of disease progression
  • Whether the child is suspected to have a rapid trajectory
  • Diagnosis/prognosis
  • Presenting symptoms that are unique to the child
  • Complications of multiple symptoms
  • Severity of symptoms
  • Impact of technology/interventions in the disease trajectory
  • Evidence of: Repeated hospitalizations, loss of milestones or function, increasing health challenges

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

Referral Process

Referrals can be made to the Canuck Place program by family physicians, medical specialists, community nurses and social workers, neighbours, friends or families may refer themselves*.

*The family must be aware, want and consent of the referral.

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

Contact information of 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. Urgent referrals can be called in 24/7.

Request to speak to the Clinical Nurse Specialist or Physician. After hours ask to speak to the nurses at the nurses station.

More Information

Take a look inside Canuck Place Children’s Hospice with a virtual tour.

Have more questions? You can also look at our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Clinical / Healthcare.

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