Alternate Level of Care and Transitional Care Units

When a hospital patient no longer needs acute or medical care but can’t return home, they might be transferred to an Alternate Level of Care (ALC) Unit while waiting for a Long Term Care placement or a Veteran’s Affairs bed. ALCs are also known 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, they are removed from the long-term care waitlist 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 services in a particular area, the stay in an ALC/TCU could be quite long.  Sometimes there’s a self-contained ward, designated patient room, or a bed in a shared room. ALC/TCU Units vary from hospital to hospital, however, there are some guidelines you may want to ask about.  Please check with the Hospital Social Worker or Discharge Planner to ask about the daily fee policy or any other questions you might have.