Needs and Expectations of Family Members of Impaired Patients with “Social Hospitalization” in Japan

Monday, 30 July 2012

Saori Itai, BSN, RN
Department of Nursing, Sapporo Minamiichijo Hospital, Sapporo, Japan
Miwako Hoshi, PhD, RN
School of Nursing, Sapporo City University, Sapporo, Japan

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to understand the context of “social hospitalization”, a unique phenomenon in Japanese health care system resulting in prolonged hospitalization.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to understand needs and expectations of family members of the patients with “social hospitalization” toward nursing care provided.


“Social hospitalization” is a unique phenomenon in Japan. It results in extremely long-term hospitalization of impaired patients whose health conditions are stable and do not require any medical treatments. Consequently, family members of those patients have to spend many hours in the hospital and tend to become irritated by nurses` attitudes and nursing care provided. The purpose of this study was to explore needs and expectations of family members of impaired and “socially” hospitalized patients toward nurses and nursing care.


A convenience sample of 33 family members of Japanese “socially” hospitalized patients completed a self-report survey questionnaire.  Eligibility criteria for participants were to be a family member of patients who resided more than 6 months in a hospital, who were impaired and mostly bedridden, and whose conditions were stable and did not require any medical treatments. Based on the literature review, a survey questionnaire was constructed to examine family members` needs and expectations related to nurses and nursing care by the researcher. The survey has 11 questions about nurses` attitudes and care provided and 3 questions regarding patients` environment. The subjects were asked to rate on each question in terms of degree of agreement on a scale of 1=strongly agree to 4=not at all agree. In addition, an open-ended question designed to explore other aspects of family members` expectations was included in the survey. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data, and answers to the open-ended question were summarized thematically.


The study is in the process of analyzing data and will be reported.   


The results of this study may assist nurses in understating what family members of impaired patients with long-term hospitalization expect from nursing care. In addition, the results may be used to facilitate a mutual trust between patients` family members and nurses.