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From the Chairman of the Japan Association of Medical and Care Facilities

In order to protect the precious lives that we value so much, advances are being made in medicine on a daily basis. As a result, our average life expectancy has been increasing, and we can look forward to the happy prospect of longer lives. Japan, however, has been facing a rapidly aging society, and by 2025 the number of deaths per year is expected to be 1.5 the current level, with the number of hospitalized patients expected to more than triple during that period. Despite this anticipated increase in patients, however, current policies mandate maintaining the present number of hospital beds. Because of this, the average number of days that patients spend in acute care facilities has been sharply decreasing, with an accompanying change in the concept of long-term care hospitals.

Long-term care hospitals need to be ready to take over patient care immediately after acute care has ended, and in the very near future, facilities in this category will account for up to 90% of all medical and nursing care. Reforms are already underway that will allow hospitals to fulfill their commitment to rapidly providing appropriate treatment of hospitalized patients, curing their illnesses and getting them back home as soon as possible.

In Asia, countries like Korea, China and Taiwan will eventually fall into the same category of “super-aged society” in which Japan now finds itself, and the situation is already very serious. Given that we are facing the problems of an aged society earlier than other countries, Japan needs to find solutions for the challenges coming at us from every direction. Our slogan is “There can be no medical care in Japan without high-quality long-term medical care”, and we hope that, together, we can send a message to the rest of Asia, and from there to the rest of the world.

Our aim is to work together to create the future of long-term medical care.

Yozo Takehisa, Chairman  Japan Association of Medical and Care Facilities

 

From the Chairman of the Korean Association of Medical Care and Facilities

Falling birthrates and aging populations are problems that extend beyond Japan, which has the world’s longest longevity rate, and other advanced nations. Similar challenges are being seen in Asian countries, which are undergoing remarkable development as global centers of growth. More specifically, we expect to see societal aging in East Asia occur at a pace unlike that seen anywhere else in the world.

As our populations age, we are seeing growing medical needs as well, and we need to not only review medical care aimed at treating conventional illnesses, but at the same time to explore new approaches to medical care and healthcare systems. This is vital not only in terms of forecasting future directions in medical care that will enable independent lives for elderly residents, but is crucially important in order to identify ways to work with other countries and build a foundation for high-quality long-term medical care. In so doing, we hope to conquer issues that we have in common with other Asian nations facing aging societies.

Given this necessity, the Korean Association of Medical and Care Facilities was created for the purpose of helping the elderly achieve autonomous health care. To this end, we are seeking out a new international framework for providing advanced long-term medical care and defining issues that Asian nations share in common, such as geriatric medical care, healthcare policies, and related systems, and are pursuing specific measures for solving these issues through a comprehensive approach.

We also hope to discuss additional ways in which to deepen ties between different regions and countries, and to foster a spirit of goodwill and solidarity among Asian nations. At the same time, we will be working to forge long-term medical care networks that transcend borders, and to work together with our member nations to create an epic vision of where we want to go.

Doek-Jin Kim, Chairman  Korean Association of Medical Care and Facilities

 

From the Chairman of the China Association of Medical Care and Facilities

In step with the rapid growth of China’s economy, the Chinese people are seeing an ongoing upturn in the level of their lifestyle. Rather than simply seeking to reach the average lifespan, Chinese have moved on to strive for higher quality of life, with the aim of enjoying good health and remaining active throughout their entire lives. As a result, post-acute medical care is now a focus of intense interest across a broad spectrum.

China not only has the world’s largest population, it also has the largest population of elderly people. Looking back over the increase in the global population, whether in the speed at which aging has progressed or in the number of elderly people, we are seeing increases on an unprecedented scale. At the same time, however, living longer does not necessarily tie in to greater enjoyment of high-quality years later in life. It is not hard to envision that the surge in the number of elderly people could lead to a decrease in the health of the elderly population at large, and/or an increase in chronic diseases. We can also anticipate a significant increase in the number of people who will rely on their families and on society for care. Partly driven by this social background, the fields of post-acute medical care and rehabilitation are growing at a steadily increasing rate, and in step with that, governments are putting more subsidies and funding into rehabilitation and nursing care. In China, expanded medical facilities are funded mainly through private capital, and are enjoying greater dynamism and more efficient growth. Here, growing market demand and even more vigorous investment of private capital will no doubt lead to further expansion in post-acute medical care. The China Association of Medical and Care Facilities was established as an outgrowth of that movement, and has joined hands with the Asia Association of Medical and Care Facilities. We hope that this will prove an opportunity for deeper exchanges with Japan, Korea and other countries on issues involving post-acute medical care, and that our joint efforts will promote the growth of post-acute medical care not only in China, but throughout Asia as a whole.

 

Doek-Jin Kim, Chairman  Korean Association of Medical Care and Facilities