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Japan Giving and Receiving Care – Cultural Differences in Medicine

Japan Giving and Receiving Care - Cultural Differences in Medicine

An interesting article appeared in the Japan Times, by Louise George Kittaka (an Amercian who speaks Japanese), discussing some of the cultural differences in caring for those in need. The article is about a university lecturer named Laurel Kamada, an American born employee at a university in Tohoku. After suffering a massive hemorrhagic stroke that negatively impacted the left side of her body, allowing her to walk only very short distances, she has struggled after her life was turned upside-down. Her doctor apparently suggested that she do not return to her position, making her dependent on her husband for care.

According to Kamada san, the idea of “thinking out of the box” is not common here in Japan, a country in which care givers of those suffering from such a sickness are treated as one-size-fits-all in most cases. The challenges of getting around in a taxi as well as access ramps in buildings are not as common in some areas with makes her life challenging.

We at Classiarius looked into this issue and there is a fantastic system in which caregivers pick up those in need at their homes, bring them to facilities and ensure that they are well cleaned. The Japanese hot tub or bath system seems to work well for those who are sick or injured. We viewed one, were impressed.

She thinks that the doctor who blocked her return to work may have had good intentions, but there may have been alternative paths that she wanted explored. After all, think about a professional who has contributed for so many years, with so much talent not given the tools to get back on campus. Also, and this is just our opinion here at Classiarius, she might have a loyal following of students who are motivated not only by her past success but would be energized by her ability to work hard and overcome challenges after her sickness. Coming back may be a win for everybody!! Again, this is our opinion.

The person in this article, Ms Kamada, feels that she may have been deprived of her own agency and has felt belittled. The article goes on to give other examples of those who are struggling and feel they need more personalized care after surgery or sickness. The feeling of isolation seems to be the connecting tissue among these patients. Perhaps a more detailed and personalized system will be needed in Japan, and as some people feel, multi-language care as well.

Clearly the Japanese medical system is one of the best in the world – again our opinion here at Classiarius – so some adjustments for personalized care and more detailed care for the elderly or sick is needed. More on this subject in the future.

Team Classiarius


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