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Every person has a different set of values and life priorities. For some, the best treatment is to control the pain, and to end their life at home. For another, the best treatment could mean receiving any treatment possible to continue living until their children become independent. Additionally, doctors may be limited by time constraints in their capacity to thoroughly discuss these topics with the patient. And if the patient is in major pain or anxiety, he or she probably cannot even think about how they want to live their lives
I was working in Japan for nearly 10 years doing hospice care until returning to the United States. Working there, I always thought about how to best serve and support patients who are on their final chapter in life, so they can live their remaining life to its fullest.
However, hospice care is only available to those who are close to the end of their lives. Those patients who have just been diagnosed with a serious illness, or those who are receiving treatment now, have many pains, fatigue, and emotional distress, as they struggle to figure out what they want to do with their lives.
True palliative care supports and removes any physical, emotional, and social distress that all patients have from the second they are diagnosed with their illness and throughout their battle with the illness.
If the symptoms are controlled, and the patients have a time to deeply consider their “best” treatment after being explained in detail their illness and the results they should expect from each treatment, then I’m sure they will be able to make the right choice for them comfortably.
At this time I would like to present to you the “Iyashi Care” program provided by a partnership between Keiro and Providence. Together, I would like to help each patient to reduce their physical and/or emotional pain and to think about which treatment will be the “best” treatment that will provide “iyashi” or “healing” in order to live the life they wish.
Yuichi Edwin Yanami MD
About the Author
Dr. Yanami is the Associate Medical Director at Providence TrinityCare Hospice & Regional Palliative Care. He is one of the doctors on the team for Iyashi Care. For full profile of Dr. Yanami, click here.
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