The BC Palliative Care Benefits Program supports BC residents 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 (includes Hospice for medications).
The Program allows patients to receive palliative care at home rather than be admitted to hospital. The program gives palliative patients access to the same drug benefits they would receive as if in hospital, and access to some medical supplies and equipment from their health authority.
Who is eligible? Any BC resident who:
• is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness or condition, and
• has a life expectancy of up to 6 months, and
• wishes to receive palliative care at home; and,
• consents to the focus of care being primarily palliative rather than treatment aimed at a cure.
Under the program, eligible patients receive:
- Coverage of medications used in palliative care through the PharmaCare BC Palliative Care Drug Plan (plan P)
When a prescription for an individual who has been registered for the BC Palliative Care Drug Program is processed at the patient’s pharmacy, the pharmacy enters a claim for the prescription(s) on PharmaNet. PharmaCare will then pay the pharmacy directly for the eligible costs of the medication. Any medications paid for before the registration is accepted will not be covered or reimbursed.
Patients should register for BC’s Fair PharmaCare plan at www.health.gov.bc.ca/pharmacare/fpcreg.html if they have not already done so. Fair Pharmacare covers Pharmacare benefits not included in Plan P.
For patients who do not meet the criteria for Plan P, coverage options through other government insurers (such as Veterans Affairs Canada) and private insurers can also be considered.
2. Medical supplies and equipment through the local health authority.
Medical supplies include necessary medical supplies and equipment needed to provide safe and quality palliative care at home such as:
medication administration supplies ( eg needles and syringes)
intravenous therapy supplies such as hydration solutions, tubing, catheters, syringes and needles;
wound care supplies including routine treatment supplies such as sterile dressing supplies and bandages.
Health authorities provide these supplies at no charge to eligible palliative patients. Health authorities also ensure that appropriate equipment is made available to eligible patients.
May be paid up to a maximum of twenty six (26) weeks to a person who has to be absent from work to provide care or support to a gravely ill family member at risk of dying within 26 weeks. Unemployed persons receiving Employment Insurance can also apply for these benefits. This benefit can be shared between caregivers.
Forms and Guides
- Palliative Care Drug Plan Formulary (PDF 356K) – list of drugs that PharmaCare covers under the Palliative Care program
- Patient Information Sheet (PDF
- Joint Protocol For Expected/Planned Home Deaths in British Columbia