WORTHY GRAND MATRON EILEEN HOWELLS'
PATIENT COMFORT FUND
BC Cancerís Provincial Patient Comfort Fund provides critical financial aid vital to the care and well-being of people affected
by cancer, across our province.
Some people travel long distances for their care, and funding can be a significant factor in deciding to undertake treatment or not.
Although the direct costs of cancer treatment are usually covered by the Medical Services Plan, other expenses such as travel,
accommodation, medications, dental care and rehabilitation services can amount to thousands of dollars for those who do not
have other forms of coverage.
The Patient Comfort Fund covers the cost of a variety of items needed by patients during treatment, including prescriptions,
medical costs, groceries, and nutritional supplements. The fund also covers travel expenses incurred by patients travelling to
receive cancer treatment.
The fund helps to alleviate a wide spectrum of stressors for patients and families. Here are a few common challenges they often
face as the result of a cancer diagnosis:
Many patients live on fixed pension incomes which have little to no allowance for medical travel costs for themselves and a spouse
or support person;
For patients without cars, public transportation options to and from their community hospital and BC Cancer site are limited and often
cost prohibitive. Over the past year, travel to and from appointments has become increasingly difficult and costly. Volunteer driver
programs were curtailed during Covid-19 and many public transit routes reduced;
Once a family member starts treatment, some families are unable to pay essential household bills and afford even basic necessities;
among these, groceries are particularly important to ensure patients maintain a healthy diet during treatment;
Support for the immediate family members of patients helps them to adjust to a new level of caregiving while ensuring their own
mental and emotional health is a priority;
While BC Cancerís Patient & Family Counselling (PFC) teams across the province currently assist patients in accessing existing
resources from the government and local organizations, applications to these programs can be lengthy and require confirmation
of income, assets and banking information followed by a months-long waiting process. The programs do not offer practical
solutions for alleviating the immediate crisis facing patients and often lack the capacity to assist with repeated requests for
Page last reviewed: 06/12/2021