Home-visit rehabilitation in a repopulated village after the Fukushima nuclear disaster

Fukushima J Med Sci. 2022 Aug 18;68(2):71-77. doi: 10.5387/fms.2021-30. Epub 2022 May 19.


Following the evacuation of areas affected by Japan's 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) accident, Kawauchi Village was one of the first municipalities repopulated. Although rehabilitation resources were limited, a healthcare facility near the municipality initiated home-visit rehabilitation in 2016. To the best of our knowledge, reports of home-visit rehabilitation in repopulated villages that were evacuated following a nuclear accident are lacking.This article describes a case study of home-visit rehabilitation in Kawauchi Village. The purpose of this study was to explore how users of home-visit rehabilitation services in Kawauchi Village perceive home-visit rehabilitation, and whether it had a positive impact on their daily life. A questionnaire survey was conducted, and their ability to perform activities of daily living was assessed, to understand the living conditions of the visiting-rehabilitation service users.We studied 10 rehabilitation-service users, with a mean age of 86.8 years, who had used the services for an average of 591.4 days. Themes that emerged from the open-ended questionnaire were "established exercise habits and improved physical functions," "the joy of returning to the village," "challenges in the mountainous areas" and "changes in relationships due to the earthquake or evacuation."In conclusion, home-visit rehabilitation was successfully implemented in the repopulated village, and helped maintain the users' physical functions. This may thus be a viable choice for rehabilitation care in repopulated areas after disasters.

Keywords: Fukushima Nuclear Disaster; case study; community dwelling; community healthcare; home-visit rehabilitation; older adults.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Disasters*
  • Earthquakes*
  • Fukushima Nuclear Accident*
  • Humans
  • Japan