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Keywords:

  • community care;
  • dementia;
  • long-term care;
  • medical care

Abstract

In May 2008, the Japanese government launched the ‘Emergency Project for Improvement of Medical Care and Quality of Life for People with Dementia’ under the idea that it is necessary to build a society, without delay, where people can live life safely without anxiety even after being affected by dementia, where they can be supported by appropriate and integrated services of medical care, long-term care and community care. We would like to introduce our future dementia policy standing on the outcome of this project, which was published as a report on 10 July 2008. The measures for people with dementia in Japan have gradually achieved good results. For example, public understanding and awareness of dementia has increased through renaming the term for dementia in Japanese from ‘Chiho’ to ‘Ninchi-sho’ in 2004, and the comprehensive care system was founded focusing on the importance of providing community based long-term care while maintaining the person's familiar human relationships and residential circumstances. However, case reports show that there are yet some cases that fail to deliver appropriate treatment or long-term care service as a result of a lack of timely definite diagnosis in an early stage or a lack of coordination between medical care and long-term care. Therefore, the future dementia policy should be designed by envisaging the flow of the measures that would support the life of the person and his/her family, and improve their quality of life; starting with measures that link early notice of the patient, his/her family or neighbor to early diagnosis, and then measures to develop well-designed comprehensive care planning that provides appropriate medical and long-term care services through good coordination, while promoting research and development of diagnosis/treatment technology. In addition, in regard to early-onset dementia, comprehensive self-support measures including employment assistance should be promoted.