Day-service, commuting service for elderly people requiring care at home, is one healthcare option in Japan. To date, however, there exist no studies that have examined the effects of day-service use on health outcomes in Japan. The objective of the present longitudinal study was to determine whether there is an association between day-service use and various physical and mental health outcomes in elderly people requiring care. The subjects were 61 elderly persons who required between 25 and 49 min of assistance per day and used long-term care insurance. Measurements included demographic characteristics, activities of daily living, frequency of day-service use, body weight, height, grip strength, thigh muscle volume, degree of depression (Geriatric Depression Scale), the mini-mental state examination, and serum albumin and blood hemoglobin levels in the baseline and follow-up surveys two years later. In the day-service user group, the mean changes in serum albumin concentrations using day-service once, twice and three ≤ times/week were −0.2, −0.3, and 0 g/dl, respectively, and the mean changes in blood hemoglobin were −0.7, −0.5, and 0.2 g/dl, respectively. The two-year change in serum albumin concentrations was less (p = 0.024) in subjects using day-service “three ≤ times” (0 g/dl) than “twice” (−0.3 g/dl). The two-year change in blood hemoglobin was also less (p = 0.043) in subjects using day-service “three ≤ times” (0.2 g/dl) than “twice” (−0.5 g/dl). The present study has shown that frequent use of day-service is useful in maintaining general nutritional status in elderly people.
2007 Tohoku University Medical Press