Keiro’s Iyashi Care program, a community-based palliative care partnership with Providence, first launched in fall 2017. However, the program’s inception goes back to a small social gathering, where Dr. Glen Komatsu, a nationally-renowned palliative care physician, approached Keiro’s leadership.
Iyashi Care emphasizes Keiro and Providence’s shared vision of whole person care, a concept that focuses on the preferences and values of each patient and their loved ones. Dr. Komatsu explained, “The person is not just a collection of medical diagnoses. They have emotions, feelings, and their wellbeing.”
This is a familiar concept to Keiro as well. At the former facilities, each resident was treated with this type of care in mind. Understanding that quality of life encompasses physical, emotional, social, and spiritual wellbeing, Keiro sought to provide that through efforts like consistent assignment of caregivers and culturally-sensitive activities and food. And as Keiro shifted from facility-based to community-based care, the legacy of peace-of-mind and the emphasis on whole person care for older adults live on through unique programs like Iyashi Care.
Iyashi Care is a partnership between a community organization and a health care system. Partnerships like these are on the rise around the United States, with research and case studies noting that this type of collaboration can extend an organization’s reach and increase its service capacity beyond what a single organization could do alone. The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) report shares, “Community partnerships allow health systems to create connections with under-resourced populations who may not be engaged with the health system.”
Keiro and Providence each bring unique contributions to the partnership, resulting in a program that serves older adults aging at home and in their local communities. Providence, with their extensive knowledge and leadership in palliative care, brought together a culturally competent team that serves both Japanese and English-speaking members of the community. Keiro, with its 60-year history of serving the Japanese American community, provides education, community outreach, and funding.
Since 2017, Iyashi Care has provided whole person care and peace-of-mind to hundreds of older adults facing serious illness and their families, wherever they call home. “The need for Iyashi Care is only going to grow as the community ages,” said Dr. Komatsu. “We are extremely grateful for Keiro’s trust and confidence in us to build this program together.”
The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (2020). Collaborations Between Health Systems and Community-Based Organizations. Retrieved from: https://astho.org/ASTHOReports/Collaborations-Between-Health-Systems-Community-Based-Organizations/01-31-20/