Japanese End-of-Life Care

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End-of-life care refers to a type of health care given to patients that are in their final stages of life, and is also given to patients who suffer terminal illness that can no longer be cured. In Japan, end-of-life care is a government program due to high rates of elderly people. According to statistics conducted by the University of Denver, 25.2% of Japan’s population is composed of elders. This means that there are low birth rates in the country. So, there are norms in Japan regarding end-of-life care. One, when a Japanese person suffers from terminal illness or is near death, the term shikata ga nai is used. The phrase means that a person can no longer be helped in treating his/her disease or other illness. Patients that are terminal are not helped in recovering because there is a slim to no chance of surviving, and the family will just have to wait until the patient passes away because there is nothing that they can do to prolong their lives. Plus, extending the life of an almost-dead patient using machines such as a life-support device would not help the patient as it prolongs his/her sufferings from their illnesses. Another norm in Japanese end-of-life care is how the Japanese view the concept of death. In Japanese culture, death is considered impure because of their religion, which is Shintoism. Shintoism is a belief that emphasizes on cleanliness and purity. Since death is inevitable, it contradicts their belief that Shintoism is about purity. On the contrary, the Japanese also considers death as a natural occurrence; therefore one could not stop or prolong a person’s life. There is a saying that Japanese people are born Shinto but die Buddhist. Death in Buddhism means that one has achieved enlightenme... ... middle of paper ... ...ans do to attend to the needs of a dying patient. It links to the research as end-of-life care is about how nurses and other medical staff take care of their patients who are near the end of their lives. This shows how important the role nurses and caregivers play in making sure that their patient is in a dignified situation before they pass. The last quote focuses on how a relationship between the patient and the carer is made. “You are a really good carer. You’d be the perfect one for me too if you weren’t you.” (Ishiguro, 282) Since end-of-life care is about taking care of terminally-ill patients, one must build a relationship between the patient and the carer. If a relationship is built, the patient would feel safe and secure with the carer. And as for the carer, he/she has gained the trust of his/her patient, thus making the process of end-of-life care easier.
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