The Government of Ontario, Canada has partnered with North York General Hospital on a pilot project focused on providing patients with direct access to a long-term care bed at the hospital.

Meant for alternate level of care (ALC) hospital patients, the initiative is expected to reduce waiting lists and avoid hallway health care.

As part of the 18-month project, North York General Hospital’s ALC patients waiting for at least 60 days for a long-term care home placement will be eligible for direct access to a long-term care bed.

The access will be for one of 18 beds available at the hospital’s long-term care facility, named Seniors’ Health Centre.

Ontario Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott said: “Innovative models like North York General Hospital’s pilot project with Seniors’ Health Centre will directly help reduce wait times by getting more patients in the right care setting faster.

“Supporting collaborative, solution-based projects is part of our government’s comprehensive plan to end hallway health care and build a connected and sustainable health care system centred around the needs of the patient.”

The pilot project involves up to 10% of long-stay beds at Seniors’ Health Centre for ALC patients who are occupying a bed at North York hospital and need immediate admission into a long-term care home.

North York General Hospital president and CEO Dr Joshua Tepper said: “Through our long-term care home, Seniors’ Health Centre, North York General is uniquely poised to help patients return to the community as quickly as possible while also improving the efficiency of the health care system.

“We are very pleased to be leading this pilot and see direct benefits for our patients and their families, as well as the entire community.”

If the pilot demonstrates early success, this approach may be expanded to other hospitals and long-term care homes in Ontario.

In April this year, Ontario bolstered hospital capacity in an effort to be prepared for any Covid-19 outbreak scenario.