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A cross-cultural comparison of hospice development in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan

Glass, A.P.; Chen, L.-K.; Hwang, E.; Ono, Y.; Nahapetyan, L.

Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology 25(1): 1-19

2010


ISSN/ISBN: 1573-0719
PMID: 20054707
DOI: 10.1007/s10823-009-9108-8
Accession: 051122163

By 2050, one out of four people in Eastern Asia will be aged 65 and above. Thus, preparing to care for an older population is imperative. Addressing quality care for elders includes consideration of palliative and end-of-life care. A comparative study of the development of hospice and palliative care services in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, is presented, based on an extensive literature review. Both commonalities and differences were found. This article provides information on the origins and administration of hospice services in these three cases, as well as the degree of government involvement. Cultural and religious aspects are also considered, and obstacles to the spread of hospice services are discussed. This review compares experiences with hospice services and identifies factors that influence people's perceptions and adoption of hospice. Stronger financial support for hospice and palliative care through the government and insurance programs would help increase the availability and use of services. Also, the need for continuing education of healthcare providers, patients, families, and the community is urgent. However, promotion of understanding of better pain management and the worth of hospice and palliative care must be conducted in ways that are sensitive to the cultural values and traditions in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Only when hospice and palliative care can be viewed as an admirable choice for one's loved ones, overcoming issues of truth telling, filial piety, worries about how one is judged, and religious considerations, will it become more widely accepted.

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