What are ALC patients?
Every day in New Brunswick, people who need hospital (acute) care are admitted to hospital beds. Some admissions are planned, such as scheduled surgeries, while others, such as emergencies, are unplanned.
Most patients, once they have received the acute care they need, return home. Some patients, however, cannot leave the hospital without putting their health and safety at risk.
These patients are designated as Alternative Level of Care (ALC) patients. They don’t require hospital care, but they remain in the hospital waiting for the services they need.
What are some of the services ALC patients are waiting for?
Why is it a problem that ALC patients wait in hospitals?
1. New Brunswickers who are ALC patients are not getting the care they need
ALC patients need appropriate support services based on their level of need rather than acute care in a hospital. Long wait times in hospital, without appropriate care, can lead to the development of new health issues, some of which could deteriorate to the point of needing more acute care.
2. New Brunswickers in need of hospital care wait longer for admission
Because ALC patients are using resources such as beds and time from hospital staff, other patients in need of these beds experience delays. ER patients may wait longer for beds after being admitted, or elective surgical patients may have their surgeries postponed to a later date.
better understanding the ALC picture
The ALC patient’s situation can only be improved by addressing other important health system challenges, including access to primary health, home care, nursing home and special care home services.