Patient profile of COVID-19 cases Japan 2022, by age group
Shortage of intensive care bedsWith over 1,200 hospital beds per 100,000 inhabitants available in the country, Japan is one of the best-equipped OECD nations regarding the medical sector. However, after the COVID-19 outbreak, country has faced a shortage of hospital beds, especially those required for intensive care. ICU beds only constitute a small share of the overall number of hospital beds in the country compared to European countries like Switzerland and Germany. To combat this problem, the Japanese government implemented financial incentives for hospitals upon acquisition of new intensive care beds. Another factor playing a significant part in the shortage of hospital beds is the comparably high average length of hospital stays, since some bedridden seniors are in long-term care in hospitals, as opposed to being cared for in nursing homes or at home.
Challenges for private hospitalsJapan’s over eight thousand hospitals were opened by doctors, leading to the majority of the institutions being privately owned. As many of them are specialized and dependent on outpatient surgeries, COVID-19 patients pose new difficulties, as treating them in a converted ward would hinder day-to-day operations. Acquisition of intensive care beds involves financial and logistical challenges, which smaller private institutions have difficulty meeting, as they are not funded by tax revenues.
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