Why delays occur

Patients who’ve recovered from an acute care stay may be ready for discharge but have no place to go for days or weeks.

  • Some residents may not be able to safely return home until home care services are set up. This can take several days, leading to an extended stay in hospital.

  • A large proportion of residents in hospital benefit from interim sub-acute or rehabilitative care for several days or weeks before they can safely return home. This transitional or restorative care focuses on occupational therapy, physical therapy, and other supports to restore the patient as much as possible to their pre-hospital condition. However, there are very few of these interim spaces available in the health care system — meaning patients may remain in hospital much longer than necessary.

  • Residents needing placement in a publicly funded designated supportive living (DSL) or long-term care (LTC) environment may need time to select their preferred facility and get their personal affairs in order. Depending on the geographic area and availability of care spaces, patients can sometimes wait days, weeks or even longer for a space to become available.

  • Patients being transitioning to a continuing care home must undergo an intake assessment as soon as they arrive at the facility. However, some of the professional staff involved in intake assessment (e.g., dietitians) may only be funded to work part-time. Working around the shift schedules of professionals can lead to delays in the care home’s readiness to accept new resident admissions from hospital.

Related content

Learn more about how streams of care are connected.