As some may know, I am a member of the Southlake Hospital Board. We meet the last Thursday of the month, starting at 5:00 PM. Quite often, Administration offers a specialized tour of a particular section of the hospital before the Board meeting.

This month, the tour was to the Sterile Processing Department (SPD). As I am having knee surgery in March, I was particularly interested in this so I signed up!

On the way to the SPD, we stopped by one of the ALC areas in the hospital (there are several).

ALC stands for Alternate Level of Care, which is defined as “When a patient is occupying a bed in a hospital and does not require the intensity of resources/services provided in this care setting (Acute, Complex Continuing Care [CCC], Mental Health or Rehabilitation), the patient must be designated ALC at that time by the physician or her/his delegate.”

(Follow this link for an indepth paper titled “Health System Reconfiguration“)

An ALC patient is one who does not need services a hospital typically provides, but is not capable of taking care of themselves. They need care, but the hospital is not the ideal location. These patients really need to be in a facility that can properly look after their needs:  Long Term Care, Mental Health Facilities. 

But, there is insufficient capacity.

And, so, hospitals like Southlake attempt (struggle?) to fill this void, by re-purposing space. The one I visited last week was the Auditorium!

Essentially a large meeting room that I have been to a number of times for various events. Now it is converted to a temporary ALC unit. About 20 beds; minimal privacy; no facilities – the washroom is down the hall.

So, why I am writing about this?

It is an issue that has the potential to affect us all and we need to keep the issue front and centre.

It is often said that a society is know by the way it treats those less fortunate.

By this definition we are failing.