Posted - 2016-11-16← Back to News and Media
Source : Boston Business Journal
Japanese agencies look to South Shore for guidance on home health care
By Jessica Trufant
October 24, 2016
ROCKLAND – As they grapple with caring for an aging population, Japanese health care providers are seeking guidance from their American counterparts who are tackling a similar issue.
More than a dozen Japanese senior-care providers visited South Shore Health System’s home and community care division on Monday to learn about how medical and social services are provided in the community in the United States, keeping patients out of hospitals and facilities and in their homes.
More than 25 percent of Japan’s population is older than 65, and that number is expected to peak at 40 percent by 2060, according to Japan’s 2015 national census. Single-person households account for 32.5 percent of the total households, now making up the largest segment of the population.
The group of Japanese providers visited agencies in California, Washington D.C. and Massachusetts to see how home care is handled.
Speaking through an interpreter, Toshikazu Amiya, CEO of the Elderly Press Newspaper, said there is a push for more in-home services in Japan to allow senior citizens to maintain their “dignity and independence.”
Japan has a universal health insurance system, so the high cost of providing care in a hospital setting is a concern as well, Amiya said.
“We want to bring patients back to the community level to reduce the cost of care,” he said through an interpreter.
The group heard from representatives from South Shore Visiting Nurses Association, South Shore Elder Services, Welch Healthcare and Retirement Group, BaneCare South Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, Linden Ponds senior living. Two interpreters translated for the visitors, who listened intently and asked questions about funding, health insurance and services.
Amiya said he was impressed by the holistic approach taken by providers to work together on behalf of the patient to ensure they address all health and social concerns, often lowering costs as well.
“Coordination is very important to them, and I was impressed by that,” he said through an interpreter.
Jann Ahern, vice president of home health services for South Shore Health System, explained how the visiting nurse association brings nurses, physical, speech and occupational therapists, social workers, nutritionists and home health aides into the home. She said the average age of patients is 74, and 60 percent are women. She said due to improvements in technology, nurses can deliver advanced care that just a few years ago was only offered in hospital settings.
Rose DiPietro, the system’s president of home and community care, said agencies are also focusing on efficiency to improve services.
“We’re creating new roles to take tasks away from nurses and have other people do these tasks,” she said.
Interpreter Gyoku Matsubara Block translates, as Toshihiko Kawabata, chairman of Kawasho Co., Ltd. of Japan, presents Rose Di Pietro, president of Home and Community Care at South Shore Health System in Rockland with a gift from his native country. The exchange of gifts is a central part of business etiquette in the Japanese culture.