Welcome to Island Health

On August 1 st, we launched our new public website:


and a new website for medical staff:


Our website was developed in partnership with patients and residents of Vancouver Island and the surrounding regions. It's accessible, mobile friendly and flexible to help us evolve with our communities as we work towards excellent health and care for everyone, everywhere, every time.

Come visit the new sites and update your bookmarks. This www.viha.ca site will continue to be available for one month so that our staff and partners have time to update their links to the new site. You can still browse the old site but it will no longer be updated.


What are my options?

Every client has unique needs and preferences. When you request service, a home health professional will do an assessment and identify services that meet your needs as a client.

The following stories show some of the ways we help clients explore their options and live as independently as possible:

Mrs. Kim is a 63 year-old widow who lives alone in a small town in B.C. She is recovering from surgery read more

Shirley is a widow. When her husband died 5 years ago, she moved to a city close to her daughter read more

Susan is 42 years old and a single mother with two school-aged children. She has terminal lung cancer with metastases read more

Darcy is 34 years old and lives in the heart of a large city. He was injured in a skiing accident several years ago read more

Frank and his wife Anita have been living in their rural home for more than 40 years. They have three children, none of whom live in the area. Anita was recently diagnosed with dementia read more

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1. Mrs. Kim is a 63-year old widow who lives alone in a small town. She is recovering from surgery that removed her breast due to cancer as well as an infection. When she first went home after surgery, she was very weak and could not take care of herself. She received home support services for several days to help her. The home care nurse visited her regularly. The nurse cared for the surgery area, including drainage care for the wound. The nurse also helped with IV antibiotic treatment.

After a few days, Mrs. Kim was stronger and able to get around. She was transitioned to nursing care at her local health centre. There she continued IV therapy and had her surgical wound treated. She also began going to a support group at the health centre. The support group is for women recovering from similar kinds of surgery; the community physiotherapist provides exercise therapy to the group.


2. Shirley is a widow in who lives in the city. When her husband died 5 years ago, she moved to a city close to her daughter. Her son and his family live in a smaller town over an hour’s drive away.
Shirley’s children are happy to have her closer, but are limited in the support they can provide. They both work full time and have school-age children. She does not know many people in her new community. Shirley has grown frailer over the past six months. She does not sleep well, is short of breath and has lapses in her short-term memory. She has fallen several times in her home. She recently fell in front of her apartment building and fractured her hip.
Shirley was in hospital for ten days and then went home to recuperate. The hospital physiotherapist showed her exercises to help her get stronger. He also arranged for Shirley to borrow a walker. The hospital discharge nurse arranged for a home care nurse to visit Shirley. The home care nurse cared for her surgical wound and monitored her overall condition. Home support services were set up to help Shirley with dressing and personal care. The occupational therapist visited Shirley’s apartment. She suggested some safety equipment, which Shirley’s family installed.
After a few weeks at home, the home care nurse referred Shirley to the community case manager. The case manager assessed her longer-term personal care needs. She monitored Shirley’s shortness of breath and blood pressure. She also talked to her about preventing falls, socialization and good nutrition.


3. Susan is 42 years old and a single mother with two school-aged children. She has terminal lung cancer with metastases. She wants to die at home and have as much time with her children as possible. Her mother, who lives nearby, is Susan’s only support. She helps her daughter and grandchildren as much as she can, but she has rheumatoid arthritis. It restricts her ability to help with childcare and many household tasks.

The home care nurse visits frequently. She helps Susan manage the pump that provides her pain medication. She also takes care of Susan’s two catheters. One catheter drains excess fluid from Susan’s lungs. The other catheter is in her bladder and improves her comfort. The nurse continuously assesses Susan’s status. She liaises with Susan’s family doctor to improve symptom relief. She consulted the specialist physician when Susan’s pain medication was making her too drowsy to interact with her children. She consulted with the Ministry of Children and Family Development to make sure Susan has help with childcare. The nurse set up end-of-life care counselling with hospice, and offered to contact someone for spiritual care if Susan wants.

The community occupational therapist taught Susan how to move in and out of bed safely. She also taught her to adjust her position. She got Susan equipment, paid for by the BC Palliative Care Benefits Program. A community physiotherapist also visits Susan to give chest therapy.


4. Darcy is 34 years old and lives in the heart of a large city. He was injured in a skiing accident several years ago. Since then, he has had quadriplegia with some limited movement in his upper limbs. After a long period of rehabilitation, Darcy returned to his own home, with support from his family and friends.

He is dependent on others for his personal care needs. He requires help with feeding, positioning, physical exercise and 24/7 response. Sometimes he needs a ventilator so he can breathe normally.

Despite his many challenges, Darcy has created an independent life. He uses adapted technology to do his work as a writer and advocate for the disabled. His case manager helped him apply for self-directed home support services. This allows him to hire his own caregivers and organize his care in the way that best suits him. She reassesses his needs and changes his service contract as needed.

The community occupational therapist visits Darcy a lot. She has helped him get equipment to help him be more comfortable, independent and mobile. The community physiotherapist also visits regularly.


5. Frank and his wife Anita have been living in their rural home for more than 40 years.  They have three children, none of whom lives in the area. Anita was recently diagnosed with dementia that progressed over the last few years. She is no longer able to manage her own bathing, dressing, cooking or other personal care activities. Lately, she started wandering and neighbours have returned her home on several occasions.

Frank provides all of Anita’s care. He takes care of the housekeeping and shopping while Anita comes along in the family car. He has health concerns of his own. He was recently hospitalized for complications from his diabetes. Frank has high blood pressure and arthritis. He is finding it hard to manage his and Anita’s many medications. He wants to stay living at home where he can look after Anita and himself for as long possible.

A case manager has done a detailed assessment of both Frank’s and Anita’s needs. The case manager set up home support services to assist with Anita’s daily care. The case manager arranged for Anita to go to a local adult day program two days a week so Frank could have a break. Frank has been given information to help him manage his diabetes. He has been given information to help plan for his and Anita’s future care needs. The case manager has also helped Frank get his and Anita’s medications organized. The community pharmacist put the medications into blister packages. Now it is easier for them to take their medication on the right day and at the right time.

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