The Transfer from Hospital to Continuing Care: The process & dispute resolution tools.

AuthorKasper, Amy


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Alberta Health Services facilitates patient transfers to publicly funded continuing care facilities, but bigger policy problems are constraining the process.

It is a common yet difficult scenario. During a stay in hospital, it has become clear the individual's existing housing arrangements are no longer sufficient. They need to move into continuing care.

The transition process can feel overwhelming because of the magnitude of the change, but also disempowering because there is so much information to digest. Sometimes patients may feel they are not the ones driving the decision about which facility they will transfer to. Alberta hospitals are over capacity and need to make acute care beds available to those in need, but there are limited continuing care options available. As a result, patients may feel pressured to accept an unsuitable placement in continuing care. Ideally, patients or their family members will reach a workable, if not ideal, solution by communicating openly with hospital staff. But that may not always be the case.

This article is for Albertans who find themselves or their loved ones in hospital and making the transition to publicly funded continuing care. It will provide information about the process, their rights and responsibilities during it, and some of the dispute resolution processes available to them. The transfer into privately funded care may follow a different process.

Charter challenge in Ontario

A lawsuit underway in Ontario highlights the fundamental importance of the rights in question when a patient is transferred from a hospital to continuing care. The Ontario government recently changed its provincial legislation (SO 2022, c 16) to put more pressure on patients to accept transfers from hospitals to long-term care.

A pair of organizations has challenged these new rules in that they violate the rights of patients as protected in The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The organizations argue the new rules violate the equality protection in the Charter (s 15) because they will be used primarily against mentally and physically ill, as well as elderly, patients. Additionally, they argue the new rules violate the patients' rights to life, liberty and security of the person (s 7) by coercing people into living and care situations they would not otherwise choose. As of the writing of this article, a court has not yet ruled on these claims.


To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT