Chapter 2: Who’s on your team?

Healthcare services and volunteer supports

I felt so very alone and overwhelmed, but the visiting nurse told me about some local programs I could reach out to. There was a volunteer group I connected with for some help, and they were amazing. I’m still in touch with one of the people that helped us with yardwork.

The programs and services that are available often depend on where the person lives. There are generally three types of health services:

1.     Provincial, territorial, and federal health services. These include hospital and community services such as home care. Each province offers different programs and services. The federal government is responsible for providing care to First Nations people living on reserves.


2.     Services provided by not-for-profit or charitable organizations. These are usually provided without cost to the person who is ill or their family. These include the following:

a.     Caregiver associations.

b.     Provincial palliative care associations.

c.     Local palliative care organizations and societies. *Check with your healthcare team to see what palliative care programs are available in your area.

d.     Organizations focused on a specific disease, such as the Canadian Cancer Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Alzheimer Society of Canada.**

*If you aren’t already connected, ask your healthcare team for local contact information.

**See links below for more information.


3.     Private services. These are available for a fee to the person living with illness and their family. Some of the costs may be covered by your private insurance provider, if applicable.


*In some provinces or territories, you may be able to receive money to look after a someone who is ill at home if the province or territory is unable to send a home care provider.

Words of wisdom

Community paramedics and assess, treat, and refer programs

In some regions, paramedics also support people living with illness through community paramedicine programs. In most cases, people are referred to community paramedics by their primary physician or specialist. Some provinces also have assess, treat, and refer programs for paramedics to support people experiencing physical symptoms at home instead of transferring them to the emergency department. Ask your home care or palliative care provider about supports that may be available in your community.

​​ Helpful resources

For a list of programs and services available in your area, visit the Canadian Virtual Hospice Programs and Services page.