Former Dean leads provincial action team on alternate level of care issue
The immediate past dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences is heading a new provincial action team to address the increasingly serious challenge of providing appropriate care for elderly and long-term patients in Ontario’s health care system.
David Walker has been appointed Provincial ALC (alternate level of care) Lead by the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. Dr. Walker will advise on and guide the implementation of strategies for action to ensure timely and appropriate placement of patients within the community.
ALC patients are individuals in hospital beds who would be better cared for in an alternate setting, such as long-term care, rehab, or at home. The Ontario Hospital Association indicates that hospital patients who are waiting for access to appropriate care elsewhere, occupy almost 19 per cent of the province’s hospital beds.
“I will be making short and long-term recommendations to the Minister on how transformation across our health care system can best address the needs of the elderly while ensuring normal health care operations can flow smoothly for all who need them,” says Dr. Walker, an emergency medicine physician and professor who is a member of the Department of Emergency Medicine, cross-appointed to the School of Policy Studies.
“Our team will visit certain areas in the province where we can learn about specific challenges and successes, assisting with action plan developments where useful,” Dr Walker continues. “I am eager to help find solutions for this complicated issue that affects an increasing number of Ontario patients and their families.”
Dr. Walker’s past service to provincial health issues includes chairing Ontario’s Expert Panel on SARS and Infectious Disease Control in 2003 and the 2005 Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreak in Toronto. In 2007 he was appointed inaugural Chair of the Board of the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion.