Nursing homes in 10 nations: a comparison between countries and settings.

M W Ribbe, G Ljunggren, K Steel, E Topinková, C Hawes, N Ikegami, J C Henrard, P V Jonsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: to illustrate demographic differences and recent trends in the provision and structure of long-term care systems in the 10 countries participating in the Resident Assessment Instrument studies (Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the USA). Method: data were assembled from government documents, statistical yearbooks and articles from journals; supplemental data on long-term care and nursing homes were solicited from colleagues. Results: All 10 countries are developed nations with high life-expectancies. Sweden has the oldest and Iceland the youngest population in this study, with Japan showing the highest ageing rates over the next three decades. Between 2 and 5% of elderly people reside in nursing homes. Interestingly, Iceland, as the youngest country' in this study, has the highest rate of institutionalization (living in residential or nursing homes), while the ‘oldest country’ (Sweden) has a low rate of institutionalization. In all countries the support ratio (number of elderly people per 100 younger adults) is high and increasing rapidly. Conclusions: no relation appears to exist between the ageing status of a country and the number of nursing home beds. Institutionalization rates among the nations studied differ even more, due at least in part to differences in the organization and financing of long-term care services, in the amount of responsibility assumed in the care for disabled elderly people by each sector and the availability of long-term care beds. Facing a rapid ageing of their population, many countries are in the process of health and social care reforms.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAge and Ageing
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1997

Other keywords

  • Aged
  • Europe
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Hospital Bed Capacity
  • Humans
  • Institutionalization
  • Japan
  • Life Expectancy
  • Long-Term Care
  • Nursing Homes
  • Population Dynamics
  • United States


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