Japan has the highest aging population in the world and promotion of home health services is an urgent policy issue. As home-visit nursing plays a major role in home health services, the Japanese government began promotion of this activity in 1994. However, the scale of home-visit nursing agencies has remained small (the average numbers of nursing staff and other staff were 4.2 and 1.7, respectively, in 2011) and financial performance (profitability) is a concern in such small agencies. Additionally, the factors related to profitability in home-visit nursing agencies in Japan have not been examined multilaterally and in detail. Therefore, the purpose of the study was to examine the determinants of financial performance of home-visit nursing agencies.
We performed a nationwide survey of 2,912 randomly selected home-visit nursing agencies in Japan. Multinomial logistic regression was used to clarify the determinants of profitability of the agency (profitable, stable or unprofitable) based on variables related to management of the agency (operating structure, management by a nurse manager, employment, patient utilization, quality control, regional cooperation, and financial condition).
Among the selected home-visit nursing agencies, responses suitable for analysis were obtained from 1,340 (effective response rate, 46.0%). Multinomial logistic regression analysis showed that both profitability and unprofitability were related to multiple variables in management of the agency when compared to agencies with stable financial performance. These variables included the number of nursing staff/rehabilitation staff/patients, being owned by a hospital, the number of cooperative hospitals, home-death rate among terminal patients, controlling staff objectives by nurse managers, and income going to compensation.
The results suggest that many variables in management of a home-visit nursing agency, including the operating structure of the agency, regional cooperation, staff employment, patient utilization, and quality control of care, have an influence in both profitable and unprofitable agencies. These findings indicate the importance of consideration of management issues in achieving stable financial performance in home-visit nursing agencies in Japan. The findings may also be useful in other countries with growing aging populations.