J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  2000 Dec;4(2):143-153.

De Facto Health Care Delivery System for Dementia Patients in Korea

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Gachon Medical School, Gil Medical Center, Inchon, Korea.


Rapid growth of the population of persons 65 years of age and older in Korea is projected to reach 7.1% of the total population by the year 2,000, and more than 13% by 2,020. Prevalence data for demented persons among the elderly vary, ranging from 7% to 10% of the population. Thus, the number of demented elderly will be about total 280,000 by the year 2,000. Most of the caring needs of the demented elderly have been fulfilled by female family members of the household, especially daughters-in-law. Recently women tend to engaged in social and job activities, and accordingly, caring for the demented elderly by the female family member will decrease, and caring for them by professional carers will increase. For setting desirable health care delivery systems for the elderly dementia, the authors presented four points that need to be considered. First, nationwide epidemiological studies for the prevalence of dementia are needed. The informations from epidemiology help give a more complete picture of the appropriate and accurate estimation of residential care facility for the dementia elderly. Second, programs for the care for, and management of patients with dementia in community settings are needed. More than two thirds of the dementia patients are mildly to moderately impaired in severity that can be managed in community setting. Third, organizations that perform diagnosis, evaluation and management of dementia, and organize comprehensive services for dementia patients is needed in community in which they live. Pre-existing organizations such as health center, or community mental health center, or new organization may be considered. Fourth, centers that play a role in educating dementia-related personnel, making and evaluating of programs for the management of dementia every year is needed. A central center should be placed in every province, and it should be connected to one another functionally.


Dementia; Management; Sevice delivery system
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