Alternate Level of Care and Transitional Care Units

When a hospital patient no longer needs acute or medical care but cannot return home, they may be transferred to an Alternate Level of Care (ALC) Unit while awaiting a Long Term Care placement or a Veteran’s Affairs bed.  ALCs are also referred to as Transitional Care Units (TCUs). 

According to the Department of Health and Wellness, “Due to the critical need for Acute Care beds, the First Available Bed Policy is strictly enforced. While individuals are waiting in hospital [in an ALC/TCU] for long-term care placement, the Nova Scotia Health Authority has the right to charge patients a daily fee from the time they are “medically discharged” until they leave for the long-term care facility...If a person in hospital refuses the first available bed, he/she is removed from the long-term care wait list and may be discharged with an alternate care plan. Until discharged, the Hospitals Act allows the hospital to charge these individuals a daily fee.”

Depending on demand for those services in that area, the stay at ALC/TCU may be lengthy.  Sometimes it is a self-contained ward, or it can be a designated patient room or just the bed in a shared room. ALC/TCU Units vary from hospital to hospital, however,  here are some guidelines you may want to ask about.  Please check with the Hospital Social Worker or Discharge Planner, or your Care Coordinator for more information on the daily fee policy or with other questions you may have.