Alternative Level of Care and Delayed Discharge: Lessons Learned from Abroad

Rapid Review 22

Bhatia D., Peckham A., Abdelhalim R., King M., Kurdina A., Ng R., Allin S. & Marchildon G.

English – [PDF]

Unnecessary prolonged hospital stays are an urgent challenge facing health systems globally. The Canadian health system too is struggling to find effective approaches to getting patients who no longer require acute treatment out of the hospital. In addition to using limited and expensive inpatient resources, unnecessary extended hospital stays can inadvertently expose often-frail patients to further harm. Unnecessary prolonged stays also disproportionately affect the most vulnerable patients. while the causes of delayed discharge are associated with a variety of factors, including individual patient circumstances and delayed and/or uncoordinated assessment and communication, addressing these problems has been met through several approaches. This rapid review profiles approaches by other countries to tackle this issue, and particularly those that have successfully transferred people out of hospitals into community-based settings. We conclude by highlighting the factors that should be weighed when crafting a policy to target this problem and recommending approaches that are tailored to the specific needs of each patient and context.