Accepted Paper:

Fundamental perceptions: why patients in a palliative care ward close to death receive rehabilitation  

Author:

Hideaki Matsuoka (Osaka University)

Paper Short Abstract:

Patients with low ADL level in palliative care can ward sometimes fall on the way to the toilet. The fact shows that ADL is closely related not only to QOL but to what we may call human dignity. They receive rehabilitation to not lose fundamental perceptions such as walking and discharging.

Paper long abstract:

By defining palliative care as "an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness," WHO remarks that this care is "applicable early in the course of illness." In Japan, however, most of palliative care wards have been similar to a hospice, an institution where patients, for whom biomedicine offers no definite remedy, lead a peaceful life and then die calmly. The palliative care ward in Tokyo where I have carried out anthropological fieldwork is no exception.

As indicated above, the quality of life (QOL) is a significant index in palliative care. There is another important index employed there: activities of daily living (ADL). ADL refers to daily activities which people do without assistance such as eating, dressing, bowel and bladder management, bathing, walking and so forth. Several types of medical staff are working in palliative care ward and physical therapists are one of them. They rehabilitate those who are close to death. The reader might be puzzled why patients in palliative care ward need rehabilitation since these patients will likely die soon.

Patients with low ADL level in palliative care ward sometimes fall down on the way to toilet. The fact that they try to go by themselves facing the risk of a fall clearly shows that ADL is closely related not only to QOL but to what we may call "human dignity."

They receive rehabilitation to not lose fundamental perceptions such as walking and discharging.

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The sensory experience of suffering and healing