Clinical Characteristics and Service Needs of Alternate-Level-of-Care Patients Waiting for Long-Term Care in Ontario Hospitals
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BACKGROUND: Alternate-level-of-care (ALC) patients waiting for admission to long-term care (LTC) in Ontario hospitals are an important subgroup of ALC patients. Understanding the characteristics of ALC patients waiting for LTC can identify opportunities for alternative discharge options. METHODS: Characteristics from a sample of 13,915 ALC patients waiting for LTC in acute and complex hospitals were analyzed and compared to those from a sample of 113,046 long-stay home care clients in Ontario. Population-level data were obtained using Ontario's RAI-HC database for the period January 2007 to September 2008. FINDINGS: Relative to older long-stay home care clients, ALC patients waiting for LTC admission have more functional impairment and complex health needs. A combination of targeted transitional care and more resource-intensive home care services are needed to successfully address ALC patients' care needs in the community. CONCLUSIONS: A substantial portion of ALC patients waiting for LTC placement in acute and complex care hospitals may be more appropriately cared for in community settings if adequate community-centred resources are put in place.
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