ALC: What it is and why it matters

What is ALC? Too often, people remain in hospitals when an Alternate Level of Care  (ALC) is available and would serve them better – for instance at home or in long-term care where services can be better tailored to their needs. Hospitals exist to deliver short-term treatment for urgent medical conditions, severe injuries or illnesses, or recovery from surgery. Long-term needs are best addressed at home, with the proper supports or in long-term care facilities.


Freeing up acute care hospital beds by providing alternative care options is one of the best ways we have for reducing wait times for hospital admissions and for emergency room services. Here’s how we improved the situation in 2011-2012:

Increasing awareness

The Erie St. Clair LHIN participated in an in-depth consultation with health service providers to better understand the Walker Report’s leading recommendations on Alternate Levels of Care.

More out-of-hospital options

The ESC LHIN created 60 new interim Long-Term Care beds, 26 Complex Continuing Care beds, 32 Assisted Living units and virtual units and 14 Convalescent beds – important options for people needing alternative care.

Better emergency department programs

The Erie St. Clair LHIN led a number of programs to ease pressure on emergency departments including: promoting the Home First philosophy, reducing ED visits related to chronic diseases, streamlining Mental Health Services, improving access to family doctors and clinics, especially for people in long-term care homes, and better home care services for seniors.

In these and other ways, the ESC LHIN is working hard to reduce wait times in hospitals and emergency rooms by making sure that people are getting the right care at the right place and at the right time.