Resources for Families
Compiled by Nelson and Area Friends of the Family Foundation.
BC Family Residence Program
Connecting children and families with medical care at BC Children’s Hospital or Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children. This organization will book and pay for accommodation at Easter Seal House, Ronald McDonald House or hotels.
The phone number reaches one of two receptionists. If they are busy, a confidential voice-mail will take message and they will respond quickly.
BC Ministry of Children and Family Development ‘At Home’ Program
Assists parents with some of the extraordinary costs of caring for a child with severe disabilities at home through a range of health supports and services. It provides assistance in two main areas: Respite Benefits and Medical Benefits.
For information about eligibility and Respite benefits contact Nelson Area At Home Program Contact: Moira McLeod 250-354-6465 direct, switchboard: 250-354-6623 or the Ministry’s Client Relations Branch at 1 877 387-7027 (toll-free).
For more information about At Home Program Medical Benefits, call toll-free: 1 888 613-3232
Ronald McDonald House
For families with children’s appointments at BC Children’s Hospital or Sunny Hill Health Centre. (Note: Costs may be covered by the BC Family Residence Program, so is preferable to call them first, see listing above.)
Location: 4567 Heather Street, Vancouver
Easter Seals House (Vancouver)
Since 1955, the BC Lions Society has provided a “home away from home” for families visiting Vancouver to obtain medical treatment. (Treatment not restricted to BC Children’s Hospital or Sunny Hill Health Centre as under the BC Family Residence Program).
Location: 3981 Oak Street, Vancouver BC, V6H 4H5
Reservations can be made by phone only. 1-800-818-3666
Hotels Offering Discounted Rates
An online list, by location, of hotels in BC that provide discounts for medical stays:
Where to Stay Vancouver/Richmond area:
Provides flights (for one parent and child) for children requiring scheduled medical treatment. General guideline is for a family making less than $70,000 per year.
Use the link on homepage to ‘Request a Flight’.
TransLink SkyTrain (Public Transit) is available to reach Ronald McDonald House or Easter Seals House in Vancouver from the Vancouver International Airport.
Take Canada Line (Waterfront direction) to King Edward Station (7 stops)then a taxi ride from there (~8 minutes) to RMH. It’s a bit closer to Easter Seals House (~4 min taxi).
Travel Assistance Program (TAP)
Airline/ferries discount for medical travel to specialist physician referred, non-emergency.
reaches the automated travel request system, and you must have your Travel Assistance Form filled out BEFORE you call. Your doctor should give you the form. Basic information can be reached by listening to Option 1 on their automated phone system. No option to reach a live operator.
Freemason Driver Program
In conjunction with the Canadian Cancer Society, offers free driving service for cancer patients to and from airport/ferry/bus depot (must book 24 hrs. in advance).
Canadian Cancer Society (Vancouver branch 1-800-663-2524).
Can transport a maximum of two persons. Persons with mobility issues must have escort.
Greater Vancouver: 1-604-872-2034 (Freemason Driver Program)
Kelowna: 1-800-299-0188 (Freemason Driver Program)
BC Ferries Connector (Wilson’s Bus Line)
Provides reduced-fare transportation from Victoria to Vancouver and return for cancer treatment through the TAP program (see above). Both the child and accompanying parent should be awarded the discounted fare.
1 888 788-8840 reaches the Wilson’s Customer Service Centre. Clients are advised to phone Wilson’s in order to make a reservation using TAP. Vancouver to Victoria service departs solely from the Vancouver Airport.
Health Connections - Regional Transit Service
- Slocan to Nelson Hospital or Trail Hospital
- Nelson to Trail Hospital
- Kaslo to Nelson Hospital or Trail Hospital
Health Connections provides communities with accessible transportation options to non-emergency medical appointments. Although medical appointments have priority, everyone is eligible to use this service if space is available. The service gets people to and from appointments in Nelson from Nakusp, Kaslo and Salmo, and all points in between. The fare is $3.50 - $4.00 per trip.
Travel from Nelson to the Trail Hospital is via the Kootenay Connector and Columbia Connector. A transfer is required at Selkirk College in Castlegar. The schedule is limited where the two routes connect at Selkirk, so the site suggests that patients inform their doctor’s office that they are using the Health Connections or Connector services so appointments can be scheduled appropriately. The fare is $4.50 (one-way).
West Kootenay Volunteer Driver Program
Volunteer drivers to help people of all ages get to medical appointments in the West Kootenay. This program runs out of Castlegar, but serves the whole West Kootenay. There is a driver based out of Nelson.
More info: 250 365-2104
Variety, The Children’s Charity
This charity supports BC families with children who have special needs. Emergency travel assistance may be available through The Variety Cares Fund, if an application is made through a hospital social worker.
Phone: 604 320-0505 ext 264
Canadian Cancer Society
The Canadian Cancer Society provides limited, short-term financial assistance to cover a portion of clients’ cancer-related transportation and accommodation expenses. In addition, through their partnership with the BC Cancer Agency, they can assist clients with a portion of the cost of selected prescription medications that manage symptoms related to cancer treatment. Families must apply before any travel is conducted.
Please phone: 1 888 939-3333 and ask about the Travel Treatment Program.
Cops for Kids
This foundation provides grants to families whose children suffer from trauma, illness or disabilities for expenses related to medical treatments and/or funds to purchase specialized equipment (other needs may also be considered). Families must reside in the BC RCMP Southeast District jurisdiction.
‘Trust for Kids’ - An organization assisting families who need to travel due to medical reasons.
Contact Dave Boland 250-353-2500 or email: superdave[at]gmail.com].
Area served: Retallack to Trout Lake to Toad Rock. Adult assistance too: “Helping Hands Trust”.
‘Gordy Steep Foundation’ - Trail & area program assisting families financially who need to travel due to medical reasons.
Contact Debbie O’Genski 250-364-3424 or Lisa Pasin 250-364-3495 or email: lisa.pasin[at]interiorhealth.ca. Possible one-time $500 grant for Trail & area families.
In the East Kootenay & Northern BC:
Friends of Children
Social Service supports in hospitals
Each hospital offers social services support to patients and families. Contact them directly for assistance.
Type 1 Diabetes Support Group - Nelson
Sharing support, ideas, tips and stories about journeys through Type 1 Diabetes. Any families living with Type 1 are welcome to join in.