In Dr. David Walker’s summer ALC (alternate level of care) report he gives the example of the Toronto Central LHIN’s efforts to reduce their ALC roster.
Alternate level of care patients are said to be indivdiuals who have completed their acute care but are unable to go home or secure a long term care bed. There used to be an ugly word for them — bed blockers — which appeared to put the blame on the patient for a failure of the system to provide a continuum of care.
The Toronto Central LHIN identified 148 long-stay ALC patients for review. While the LHIN was able to transition 28 of these ALC patients to alternate destinations, 22 were deemed medically unstable and not ALC at all. That’s nearly 15 per cent.
August 31st the Ontario Ministry of Health did a curious thing. They posted on their website a report by Dr. David Walker, who had been appointed ALC lead back in January. There was no press release, no press conference, no op/eds were written supporting Walker’s 32 recommendations. Walker had submitted his report at the end of June, and for two months the government mulled it over before deciding to make it public on the eve of an election. During that election there was virtually no talk of Walker’s report.
ALC is the term for alternate level of care patients — those who have completed their acute care treatment in hospital but are not stable enough to return home.
Normally this kind of treatment of a report indicates a “thanks, but no thanks” attitude by government. However, at a meeting with public service reform commissioner Don Drummond, the Ontario Health Coalition was told that the government has actually accepted the recommendations of Walker.