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Japan's aging population is demanding more long-term care, but hospitals remain beholden to their acute care wards and the financial incentives they offer. (Source photo by Kyodo)

The acute care dilemma at Japan's hospitals

1 in 3 beds meant for the critically ill fail to live up to expectations

KYO KITAZUME and RINA MITSUTAKE, Nikkei staff writers | Japan

TOKYO -- Nearly 35% of acute care beds in Japanese hospitals have failed to serve their intended purpose, a serious misallocation of human and financial resources, according to a study by Nikkei and the Japan Center for Economic Research.

Acute care refers to the services given to badly injured or severely ill patients; it forms the core of Japan's medical network, with about 60% of all beds available, excluding beds meant for patients with an infectious disease or in need of psychiatric care.

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