Why Did the Policy to Convert Hospitals Into Facilities Not Work in Japan?

  •  Yuka Mine    
  •  Masayuki Yokoi    
  •  Takao Tashiro    


The government of Japan formulated measures to significantly reduce the number of hospital beds for long-term care in 2006. In particular, long-term care hospital beds covered by long-term care insurance (sanatorium medical facilities) were to be abolished in 2012, and existing sanatorium medical facilities were to be converted into long-term care insurance services such as geriatric health services facilities. However, the conversion did not progress in spite of various support measures, and the deadline for abolishment was extended. In order to clarify the reason for this, we selected 28 hospitals with 402 or more long-term care beds and 28 health services facilities with 158 or more beds and examined their management philosophies and analyzed the keywords included. The most popular keyword was “community” in both hospitals and facilities. Hospitals had a significantly higher rate of 60.7% (P< 0.05) of including “trust” or “feeling of relief” in their management philosophies. Facilities had higher rates of including any of the terms “return” or “independence” or “home” (32.1%, P= 0.051), and also of including either “service” or “care” (46.1%, P< 0.05). In conclusion, it is suggested that hospitals with long-term care beds differentiate themselves from neighboring facilities in that they are able to simply accept the situation and be responsible for terminal care whenever inpatients may have difficulty returning home. In addition, it seemed difficult for hospitals to convert into health service facilities, the aim of which is to enable residents to return home.

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