An innovative new centre for children and youth with complex health-care needs is moving forward with government approval of the project’s business plan.
“This important milestone means children across the province with extraordinary health needs will have access to better care as the first-of-its-kind children’s complex-care transition facility in B.C. will fill gaps in much-needed services and supports,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “While other jurisdictions in Canada offer similar services through separate programs, this will be the first centre in the country to provide such a comprehensive range of supports for children with medical complexity at a single site.”
The centre will be for patients up to 19 years old who are living with complex, chronic conditions and have difficulty performing routine daily and typical childhood activities without assistance, have significant caregiving requirements and frequently use the provincial health-care system.
The facility will co-ordinate care by a multi-disciplinary team through a single point of contact; assist families in navigating a complex system of services; train families, caregivers and care providers to comprehensively support their child in their home community; leverage research and innovation to improve the quality of life for children and youth living with health complexity as well as their families and caregivers; and deliver care in a culturally safe environment, both in person and virtually.
“We want all children and youth with complex-care needs to be able to live their lives to the fullest,” said Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development. “Having these critical supports at a single site will help ease some of the challenges families face in navigating services and supports, and allow families to concentrate on caring for their children.”
The estimated cost of the project is $221.8 million, which will be shared between the provincial government and Provincial Health Services Authority.
The BC Children’s Hospital Foundation owns the land on which the new centre will be built. Thanks to the generosity of donors, the foundation has made a sizable commitment to support the building of the new centre.
The next step is the procurement process, followed by construction, which is expected to begin in 2025 and be completed in 2028.
The centre will be located at the former site of the Sunny Hill Health Centre in East Vancouver, which was relocated to the main campus of the BC Children’s Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre in August 2020.
A 74-space child care centre will also be built on the site, which will be operated independently from the complex-care centre. The City of Vancouver is contributing half of the cost of the child care centre.
There will be close links between the services provided at the new site and those provided at BC Children’s Hospital campus on Oak Street. The new services will not replicate the acute services provided at BC Children’s Hospital.
- As of 2018, there were approximately 7,800 children with health complexity who accessed services at BC Children's Hospital, of which 20% lived outside the Lower Mainland.
- It is estimated that by 2035, more than 9,000 children will have health complexity that will require the type of support the complex-care centre will offer.
- The term "children and youth living with health complexity" was developed in partnership with a diverse group of provincial stakeholders and expands the focus from a medical model of diagnoses and treatment to prioritizing how a child can live with their health complexity and improve quality of life.
A backgrounder follows.