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Journey of Care


After your injury the path that you follow depends on your unique needs; everyone is different. Some of the factors that provide “road signs” to what services you need and where you may go next are:

  • The severity of your brain injury, where you are in the recovery process and how quickly you are recovering
  • Medical needs
  • Care and support needs
  • Income and access to funding
  • Having a place to live
  • Having an accessible home
  • Availability of support from family and friends
  • Availability of resources, services and support in your community

The following are places you may come across in your journey:

  1. Hospital
  2. Supportive Living
  3. Rehabilitation
  4. Home



Trauma hospital / specialized hospital

  • These hospitals have specialized programs, equipment and health care teams e.g. neurosurgery, neurological, cancer, stroke
  • You receive treatment to repair and limit damage to your brain and body, and manage your medical needs
  • Early rehabilitation may begin
  • The health care team includes specialist doctors and nurses, as well as any of the following: occupational therapist,  physiotherapist, social worker, speech language pathologist, dietician and pharmacist

Regional / non specialized hospital

  • These hospitals typically do not have all the same specialized programs, staff and equipment. You may still have access to doctors, nurses, and some therapy services.


Supportive Living

Residential Care

  • Residential care provides professional nursing services 24 hours a day if you are unable to stay at home safely.
  • You must be a BC resident 19-years-of-age or older and require the type of care that can only be given by a medical professional
  • Care in your home or a supported environment like assisted living do not meet your care needs
  • A daily fee is charged that is based on your income as reported on your most recent income tax form

Assisted Living

  • Assisted living is a housing plus health option if you need a little extra help
  • Includes affordable rental accommodation, hospitality services and personal care services, as needed
  • Access to subsidized assisted living, may be provided to seniors and those with physical disabilities
  • Subsidized Assisted Living includes:

Rental Accommodation: this means a private, lockable apartment or suite that you furnish with your own belongings. The building will also have common dining and socializing spaces.

Hospitality Services: this includes two meals a day (lunch and supper), weekly housekeeping of your suite, weekly laundering of your linens (towels and sheets), social and recreational activities, and a 24-hour emergency response system

Personal Care Services: this may include such things as help with bathing, grooming, dressing, and managing your medicine. It is tailored to a person’s needs.

  • Information on private pay (i.e. non-subsidized) units is available by contacting the Service Provider directly

Family Care Home

  • Provides accommodation, meals, nursing care and personal care services in a non-institutional setting.
  • You will receive as much care, and independence, to suit you
  • You are encouraged to make choices and decisions and be part of the activities of the family
  • Specialized care is provided that can change with your needs, without having to change homes
  • Nurses and qualified assistants support family caregivers and provide for a variety of therapeutic, recreational, social and transportation needs
  • You have a private bedroom or suite


  • Rehabilitation is the process of supporting you to reach your best possible level of function. The process is goal oriented and time limited.  It is tailored to meet your needs and takes into account the environment in which you function whether its home, work, school, or socially.
  • Rehab goals are developed based on your current abilities and what you would like to be able to do.  Rehab goals may include:
    • Improving your activities of daily living and the skills that are needed to do them i.e. moving, talking, thinking
    • Learning about your injury or illness 
    • Identifying care, equipment, home access, support and resource needs
    • Planning for a safe discharge
  • Your rehab team will develop a rehab program that is specific to you. It will focus on reaching your rehab goals and transitioning back to your community
  • Your rehab team may include any of the following: doctor, nurse, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, social worker, speech language pathologist, psychologist, recreation therapist, vocational rehab counsellor, sexual health clinician, drug and alcohol counsellor, dietitian and rehab assistant.
  • Specialized services may also be available such as: assistive technology, driver rehab and orthotics.

Your rehab may take place in a hospital, rehabilitation facility or in the community.

Facility Based

  • In-patient: If you still require daily nursing care you sleep in the facility that is providing your rehab program
  • Out-patient: You sleep at home and go to a rehab program during the day
  • Slow stream in-patient: If you have a more severe brain injury and your recovery is slow,  a fast paced, time limited rehabilitation program may not work for you. You may need a slower pace and a longer time to learn skills. Because there are no slow stream rehabilitation programs in BC, some people get this type of rehab from the Halvar Jonson Centre for Brain Injury in Ponoka, Alberta.

Community Based

  • Residential – You live in a specialized home in the community with others like you. These transitional community based rehab programs offer a real life practical approach to rehab to prepare you to return to your home or a new home. There may be a fee for these services.
  • At home - You live at home and get rehab within your own home and community. Therapists may visit you at home and set up a rehab plan that focuses on your goals. Usually a rehab assistant (working under the supervision of a therapist) will carry out the day-to-day rehab plan with you and your family. There may be a fee for these services.


  • You may live by yourself , with family or friends, or in supported housing
  • You may need changes to your home and special equipment
  • The services and resources that you need may or may not be available in your community e.g., support workers, therapy services, drop in centres, day care programs, support groups, life skills programs
  • There may be a fee for these services


So how do I know what's best for me?

  • Talk to your health care team, listen to advice, ask questions and get all the options.
  • Weigh the pros and cons of each option, and talk it over with other people.
  • Decide what is the best option for you. Sometimes there is no ideal solution. There can be gaps between your needs and the resources that are available to you.
  • Keep in mind that recovery can happen over years.  Where you are now is just a step along your journey.

A project of:


Project launch made possible by:

  BC Neurotrauma Fund via

Rick Hansen Foundation, BC Neurotrauma Fund

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We acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia. 

Brainstreams.ca is an online education and networking site for the Brain Injury Community in B.C. and beyond.

The material on this web site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.