BioScience Trends. 2019;13(3):279-281. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2019. 01173)
The community-based integrated care system in Japan: Health care and nursing care challenges posed by super-aged society.
Song PP, Tang W
Japan is experiencing unprecedented aging of its population. People age 65 years or older accounted for 28.1% of the total population in 2018, and that proportion is expected to reach 33.3% in 2036 and 38.4% in 2065. In 2017, the average life expectancy in Japan was 81.09 years for men and 87.26 years for women. By 2065, it is expected to reach 84.95 years for men and 91.35 years for women. Population aging affects health and long-term care systems. The government proposed the establishment of "a community-based integrated care system" by 2025 with the purpose of comprehensively ensuring the provision of health care, nursing care, preventive care, housing, and livelihood support. This will require health care and nursing care professionals who are capable of fully understanding the physical and mental characteristics of elderly people and the fostering of organic collaboration with others professionals in the community-based integrated care system. A department of gerontology or geriatric medicine is desired to be established in each medical school to teach students medicine and efficient medical care, to conduct research, and to develop personnel to facilitate this paradigm shift. In 2018, there were 263 colleges of nursing with an admissions capacity of 23,667. In Japan, Certified Nurse Specialists can specialize in 13 areas as of December 2016. The number of Certified Nurse Specialists increased to 2,279 as of December 2018. One hundred and forty-four of those specialists specialized in Gerontological Nursing while 53 specialized in Home Care Nursing. The number of nurses specializing in Gerontological Nursing and Home Care Nursing is desired to be increased in order to implement and improve community-based comprehensive care.