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Alternate Level of Care Assessment

November 29 , 2017

From the offices of Rosa Rudelich, Vice-President & Chief Operating Officer and Owen Heisler, Vice-President & Chief Medical Officer, Covenant Health

Alberta Health Services (AHS) has introduced a system of change across the Edmonton Zone to continuing care assessments. Patients will now be assessed in their home rather than in an acute care setting. This affects assessments at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital, Misericordia Community Hospital and Villa Caritas.

This change aligns with our vision of creating vibrant communities of health and healing. It supports improved access and better health outcomes for our patients. Assessing patients at home gives them the time they need to regain strength and independence. It reduces their risk of falls and infection. This change also frees up much needed beds in acute care, allowing us to better serve emergency in=patients (EIP) and other critically ill patients.

Currently more than 25 per cent of beds at the Misericorida and Grey Nuns are occupied by patients who require and alternate level of care (ALC); that number doubles for Villa Caritas (51.3 per cent). About one in three ALC patients in acute care is waiting for a continuing care living option. We believe patients are better served by waiting at home where they will be in a healthier environment and supported by Home Care. AHS has assured us that Home Care is ready to support ALC patients' transition to home and Community Transition Coordinators are available to provide assessments in the community.

Physicians are asked to continue to determine when a patient requires an alternate level of care but to refrain from providing a predetermined discharge location or plan. Acute Transition Coordinators are responsible for working with the patient and family to determine next steps. We will be working with the acute care team to develop a plan, including information for managing exceptional circumstances when assessment for continuing care living options may be required in acute care.

We recognize that this represents a practice change for many caregivers, particularly some physicians and our Acute Transition Coordinators. Our Acute Transition Coordinators remain valued members our care teams; no jobs will be lost due to this change. We believe this is in the best interest of those we serve and we will continue to work closely with you to address these changes and provide the support necessary.

Thank you for your support as we introduce this change across our Edmonton acute care sites.

If you have questions contact Lisa Jensen, Corporate Director, Integrated Access by email or phone 780.735.9938.

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