CIHI Survey: Alternative Level of Care in Canada: A Summary
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Canadian health system managers are increasingly concerned about the number of hospital in-patients who do not need acute care services (Ontario Association for Community Care Access Centres et al. 2006; Yassi et al. 2008). These patients are widely known as "ALC patients" because they are awaiting an alternative level of care in a more appropriate setting. ALC days in hospitals is a systems issue, reflecting challenges in different parts of the healthcare system, including hospitals, community care and long-term care (MacLeod et al. 2008; Ontario Association for Community Care Access Centres et al. 2006; Penney and Henry 2008). Planning and coordination across health sectors will be enhanced through a better understanding of the characteristics of ALC patients and what happens after they are discharged from hospital. This article summarizes more detailed findings presented in the recent report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI 2009), Waiting in Hospital: Alternate Level of Care in Canada.
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