Each year numerous Albertans are admitted to a hospital but upon discharge are no
longer able to return home, despite efforts to provide adequate support. Of these
individuals who require continuing care services, some will have care needs exceeding the
services that are able to be provided in available LTC beds. When the appropriate
continuing care services are not available individuals admitted to acute care hospitals (but
no longer requiring their services) continue to occupy a bed and are classified as requiring
an “alternate level of care” or ALC. This creates inefficiencies in the utilization of acute care
resources, has multiple impacts across the entire healthcare system, and most importantly
prohibits patients from receiving the appropriate care in the appropriate setting.
In Alberta, between 2012 and 2015, there were an average of 2,706,571 hospital
bed days per year; ALC days accounted for 10% of all hospital days in 2012-13, increasing
to 12.2% in 2014-15. For the Calgary zone specifically, 15.2% of all 2014-15 hospital days
were classified as ALC days this translates into approximately 330,201 Alberta hospital
days classified as ALC in 2014-15. This is a stark contrast from previous years; from 2006-
08 ALC days accounted for only 2.2% of all hospital days. This represents an increase of 10
percentage points, or five times as many ALC days in 2014-15 compared to 2006-2008.