Background: Globally, the number of deaths is estimated to increase to 74 million per year by 2030. Place of death (PoD) is increasingly being recognized as an important aspect of end-of-life care. However, recent trends in PoD in Japan, one of the super-aged societies, are unknown. Objective: To analyze trends in PoD in Japan over two decades. Design: Population-based retrospective observational study. Setting: All deaths reported in Japan, 1998-2017. PoD was defined as hospital, nursing home, or own home. Results: All Japanese decedents (∼22.6 million) over the past 20 years were analyzed. The proportion of hospital deaths was consistently high (>80%), with a significant decreasing trend from the mid-2000s. Although the proportion of deaths at home decreased in the first half of the study period, they later increased. There was a low proportion of deaths in nursing homes compared to other places of death; however, the proportion increased continually throughout the study period, particularly among women. In 2015, more women died in nursing homes than at home. Although the proportion of hospital deaths declined in the second half of the study period, their overall number continued to increase, reflecting an increase in total deaths in Japan. Conclusions: This study highlighted rapid changes in trends in PoD in Japan, and the need to consider affordable end-of-life care in Japan as well as other countries with aging populations. The findings from this long-term epidemiological study provide important insights on this issue.
- end-of-life care
- palliative care
- place of death
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine