Objective Home independence is an important issue for the elderly in many countries and cultures. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of short-stay service use on stay-at-home duration for elderly people by level of care need under the Japanese long-term care insurance system. Methods We analyzed anonymous, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan Long-Term Care Insurance claims data from Ibaraki Prefecture. All participants were certified as eligible for long-term care insurance and had moved into a facility under long-term care insurance after certification between April 2006 and March 2012. Data was analyzed for 2,454 participants aged 65 years or older who entered residential care at least 1 month after initial use of care services. The participants were divided into 2 groups (low- and high-care need), depending on their required level of care. Cox proportional hazard modeling was used to calculate the adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of residential care admission after initial use of care services. Results Use of short-stay services was positively correlated to delay of residential care admission compared to non-use in the low-care need group (HR; 0.834, 95% confidence interval (CI); 0.740–0.939). In the high-care need group, however, use of short-stay services was somewhat correlated with earlier admission (HR; 1.254, 95% CI; 1.084–1.451). Conclusions The results of this study show that appropriate timing short-stay service use is necessary for the elderly to stay at home longer.
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