Nursing homes in 10 nations: A comparison between countries and settings

Miel W. Ribbe, Gunnar Ljunggren, Knight Steel, Eva Topinková, Catherine Hawes, Naoki Ikegami, Jean Claude Henrard, Palmi V. Jónnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

237 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: to illustrate demographic differences and recent trends in the provision and structure of long-term care systems in the 10 countries participating in the Resident Assessment Instrument studies (Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the USA). Method: data were assembled from government documents, statistical yearbooks and articles from journals; supplemental data on long-term care and nursing homes were solicited from colleagues. Results: All 10 countries are developed nations with high life-expectancies. Sweden has the oldest and Iceland the youngest population in this study, with Japan showing the highest ageing rates over the next three decades. Between 2 and 5% of elderly people reside in nursing homes. Interestingly, Iceland, as the 'youngest country' in this study, has the highest rate of institutionalization (living in residential or nursing homes), while the 'oldest country' (Sweden) has a low rate of institutionalization. In all countries the support ratio (number of elderly people per 100 younger adults) is high and increasing rapidly. Conclusions: no relation appears to exist between the ageing status of a country and the number of nursing home beds. Institutionalization rates among the nations studied differ even more, due at least in part to differences in the organization and financing of long-term care services, in the amount of responsibility assumed in the care for disabled elderly people by each sector and the availability of long-term care beds. Facing a rapid ageing of their population, many countries are in the process of health and social care reforms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-12
Number of pages10
JournalAge and Ageing
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Ageing population
  • Health care reforms
  • Institutionalization
  • Long-term care
  • Nursing homes
  • Residential homes
  • Support ratios

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Nursing homes in 10 nations: A comparison between countries and settings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this