NSS assists parents and caregivers to help children with special health care needs lead active, healthy lives in their communities while facilitating safe, consistent care and appropriate health supports.
NSS is available to children in BC aged 0 - 19 years who need specialized nursing services. NSS is delivered by the regional health authorities across the province.
When NSS Coordinators receive your child's referral, they will contact you or your child's guardian to book a nursing assessment. The information from the assessments helps us know if your child is eligible for NSS and what the best services are for your child. The NSS Coordinator will work with you, your child, and other care providers to develop a plan.
Nursing services include assessment, planning, and monitoring care. Services may also involve:
- information about how to care for children & youth with special health care needs
- help to find community-based care and resources
- direct nursing care:
- planned periods of respite with a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse to help with complex home supports such as dialysis, tracheostomy, ventilator, and end of life care
- delegated nursing care:
- training and monitoring of other caregivers, such as special education assistants, to help with special care needs; gastrostomy tube meals, blood glucose monitoring, clean intermittent catheterization, and oral suctioning
- eligibility assessment for the At Home Program. The At Home Program provides medical and respite benefits
- working together with families and other community service providers such as social workers, physiotherapists, and teachers to help arrange services and supports
Services are provided in the home, school, or child-care setting. Delegated care is is almost always provided in the school or child-care setting.
There is no cost to families for Nursing Support Services.
Children and Youth who:
- are under 19 years old (for home support)
- are in the school setting to the end of the school year when the youth turns 19
- are a resident of British Columbia
- have care needs that require the judgement and skill of a nurse either in the home or in a community setting
- have care needs that can be taught to other care providers
- have physicians who are familiar with the child/youth's condition and care needs and who can confirm that the child/youth is stable and can be safely cared for in the community setting
- have physicians in their communities who can provide needed medical care, consultation, and write doctors' orders
Sometimes a child/youth's needs will be reassessed to make sure he or she is still eligible to receive Nursing Support Services.
Children or parents who receive an insurance settlement or court award are not eligible for direct nursing care through the NSS.
Anyone can refer a child to NSS. Contact the program in your community through your local health unit.
Call your local health unit or the NSS Program Manager and ask about Nursing Support Services.