Experts talk advance care planning in Japan

Advance care planning was on the agenda for a prestigious invitation that took Professor Josephine Clayton to Japan last month.

Prof Clayton, Director of HammondCare’s Centre for Learning and Research in Palliative Care, was one of two speakers invited to the 25thInternational Hospice Workshop at Peace House Hospice in Kanagawa, Japan.

She and Dr Karen Detering, Medical Director of Advance Care Planning Australia, shared their expertise regarding helping people to prepare for their end-of-life care, over a two-day workshop from February 24-25.

Prof Clayton said she was excited to visit Japan for the first time, having previously been invited to speak overseas at various locations including Hong Kong.

“The workshop was beautifully organised and we were very well received. The engagement and enthusiasm from the participants made it really enjoyable and rewarding,” she said.

“It was a really incredible training experience. We were excited to share our experience and learn from our peers in Japan.”

Prof Clayton said while the conversation may be uncomfortable, it’s important for people to start talking about advance care planning in order that they may be looked after the way they wish at the end of their life.

The conversation is particularly important in Japan, which is believed to be the nation with the world’s highest proportion of older citizens. People aged 65 and over made up 25.9% of Japan’s population according to 2014 estimates, compared to 15.5% of Australia’s population according to the 2016 Census.

In the event of needing palliative care or emergency treatment, an advance care plan can help clarify what is important to you and make it more likely your wishes will be respected.

It can also help people prepare for dying and remove some stress and worry from family members.

To learn more about developing an advance care plan, read Prof Clayton’s advice: Why Talking About End of Life Care Matters