Residential Care Options

residential care options island health

Residential Care facilities provide 24-hour professional care and supervision to adults in a supportive and secure environment. Publicly subsidized Residential Care Services are available to adults with complex medical and cognitive care needs and an assessed and urgent need for 24-hour care. Services are aimed at meeting the complex health needs of those admitted to a facility and include:

  • Accommodation
  • 24-hour nursing care
  • Other professional services such as nursing, physical therapy, social work and nutritional support
  • Hospitality services  (meals, housekeeping, recreational activity programs, emergency response)
  • Personal care assistance
  • End-of-life care.

To help individuals prepare for the transition to Residential Care, please read the Island Health Residential Care Guide.


Publicly subsidized residential care is a limited resource, and placement in a residential care facility is based on the urgency of the individual’s care needs.

You may be eligible if you meet citizenship and provincial residency Home and Community Care requirements and the criteria for admission to one of Island Health's residential care facilities.  Island Health care management staff will determine your eligibility by conducting a thorough, standardized assessment of your need and urgency for residential care.

Some of the eligibility factors we consider include:

  • Your health and care needs
  • Your family’s ability to provide care and support at home
  • Whether community resources are appropriate, safe and sustainable for you.

What if I am not eligible for Residential Care?

There is a wide variety of publicly and privately funded community resources available to help you live independently if you are not eligible for residential care placement.  Some examples include home support services, bathing services, respite, adult day services and assisted living services. Your Community Case Manager will help identify appropriate services and resources that will meet your needs.

Who can I call if I have questions about this process?

If you are currently a patient in the hospital, contact the Liaison Case Manager covering your unit. If you are at home, contact your Community Case Manager or call a region contact on our Assisted Living & Residential Care Services page.


Monthly residential care rates are based on 80% of your after-tax income;  minimum and maximum rates apply. The monthly rate contributes to the cost of providing the service.

The Ministry of Health allows facilities to apply additional charges for optional services. This includes, but is not limited to, hairdressing, cable, and telephone services.

Services and charges may vary between settings. Facility staff will inform you about these fees before you move in and must have your written consent.

For more information, please visit the Ministry of Health: Long-Term Residential Care page.

Selecting a Residential Care Residence

It is important to speak to your family and your case manager about which residential care facility is best for you.

It's a great idea to tour prospective facilities. Tours can be scheduled in advance with the residential care facility staff.

You should consider the following:

  • Your geographic location
  • What your personal needs are
  • What activities the residential care facility can provide.

First appropriate bed policy

If you are eligible, and have been assessed as needing publicly subsidized residential care, a "first appropriate bed" policy is in place.  This means that you are required to accept the first appropriate bed that becomes available within your local health services area.  Clients can still ask for their choice of facility, but must accept the first appropriate bed while they wait for their chosen facility to become available.

You must be prepared to move within 48 hours of being offered a bed. The case manager or hospital liaison nurse will support you as you consider your options. These options include but are not limited to:

  • using publicly subsidized support services
  • using private pay home supports
  • moving into a private pay residential care facility  

Can I go on a wait list?

Island Health does not maintain wait lists for access to its residential care facilities. Instead, access is prioritized according to need. This helps make sure people who need residential care services right away can access it as soon as possible.  Access to residential care before you need it is not possible.

More information

More information about choosing a care facility or home can be found on the BC Ministry of Health website: BC Ministry of Health: Choosing a Care Facility or Home.

Family and Resident Councils

A Family or Resident Council is a group of persons who either live in a residential care facility or are family/representatives of residents.  They work together with staff to maintain and enhance the quality of life of residents. They also provide a voice in decisions within the facility that affect them.

The Residents’ Bill of Rights

Island Health is committed to protecting the rights of the residents we care for.  The BC Residents’ Bill of Rights is a set of rights for adults who live in residential care facilities, and details their rights to care; health, safety and dignity; participation and freedom of expression; and transparency and accountability. 

The Residents’ Bill of Rights is publicly displayed inside all residential care facilities to remind residents, family members and facility license-holders of each person’s right to receive high quality care and live free from abuse and neglect.

If you are not satisfied with the care you receive, please speak to the facility manager so your complaint can be addressed. If you continue to be dissatisfied, please contact our Patient Care Quality Office.

Compliments and Complaints

We are dedicated to providing the highest quality of care. This includes receiving feedback and responding to complaints. If you have comments about the care you are receiving, on what we have done well and what we need to improve, please let us know.


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News & Events

South Van Island

Project Development Agreement signed for a new Residential Care Facility in the Cowichan Valley

Duncan – Island Health and H&H Total Care Services Inc. (H&H) are working together to bring a new residential care facility to Duncan. The facility will focus on improving seniors’ care capacity in the Cowichan Valley and on meeting the needs of complex care clients.

Read more