About 80 percent of Japanese died at hospitals and clinics in recent years, compared with just over 50 percent in the United States and Britain, according to a report by a think tank affiliated with the Health and Welfare Ministry.
The report, by the Institute for Health Economics and Policy, says Japan’s high rate of deaths at medical institutions reflects long hospitalizations of ailing Japanese.
Up until fiscal 1998, the institute analyzed data from each of the three countries and found that 79 percent of Japanese died in medical institutions, while the figure for Britain was 54 percent and the U.S. 52 percent.
The report also says the number of Japanese who died at nursing homes or care facilities was one-tenth that in the U.S. and one-sixth that in Britain.
It encourages people to receive nursing care in the final phase of their lives rather than relying heavily on medication.
According to the report, 23 percent of Britons died at home, followed by 22 percent in the U.S. and 16 percent in Japan.
Only 2 percent of Japanese died at homes for the elderly, against 21 percent in the U.S. and 13 percent in Britain.
In 1998, about 800 billion yen was spent on inpatients in the final month of their lives. The amount is 3.5 percent of the 23 trillion yen the government spent in total general medical expenditures for fiscal 1997.
Long hospitalizations, not expensive medical fees for the final phase of inpatients’ lives, were found to have weighed heavily on state finances for medical insurance, an official of the institute said.
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