Health Care and Wellness
Taiwan has seen significant improvement in the health status of older adults over the past two decades thanks to the introduction of a universal health care system and a focused effort by the government to build age-friendly health care institutions. Lack of access to integrated health care, however, remains a significant gap in the system. Nonetheless, the government continues to make strides to improve the health and wellness of older adults, including creating a formal long-term care (LTC) system and focusing on increasing and integrating community-based care services, including dementia care.
Both life expectancy and healthy life expectancy of older adults in Taiwan have significantly improved since 2000, though they are still below the OECD average. As of 2016, an average 60-year-old could expect to live for another 23.5 years, an increase of 2.6 years from the year 2000. Of those additional years, 18.3 could be expected to be healthy, a two-year gain from the 2000 level.
Source: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
Accreditation of Age-Friendly Health Care Institutions
Because of Taiwan’s aging population, the government places great emphasis on providing older adults with easy access to quality care to prevent disease, postpone physical dysfunction, and support aging in place. Key measures include the accreditation of age-friendly health care institutions. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) introduced its accreditation program in 2011, the first in the world initiated by a national government. Accreditation criteria cover four dimensions of health care: administration policy, communication and service, care procedures, and physical environment.
With the program beginning with hospitals, it was expanded in 2012 to include public health centers (PHCs), clinics, and long-term care institutions. By the end of 2017, 469 institutions were certified, and 90 percent of surveyed older adults reported satisfaction with services provided at these institutions. As the original criteria were developed primarily based on hospital practices, the government continues to optimize and adapt them to different types of institutions. In 2016, it updated criteria to be specialized for PHCs. As of October 2017, 96 centers received their accreditation based on these new standards. The government aims to certify all of Taiwan’s 370 PHCs by the end of 2018. The HPA has also developed new criteria for long-term care institutions, which it began testing in 2017.
“We see accreditation as an important administrative strategy and tool. It enables us to systematically integrate standards into institutions that provide care for older adults.”
– Ying-Wei Wang, Director-General of Health Promotion