The End-of-Life Care Association of Japan teaches skills to help dying patients cope with distress and anxiety, encouraging dying persons, and help participants understand the agony of patients. They also teach ways to “catch the messages” delivered by patients and articulate their suffering in words by repeating their comments, even if they could be construed as very negative. Moments of silence may not necessarily be negative, as they could indicate that patients are trying to reveal their true feelings or sort out their thoughts. If silences last too long, he recommends asking what patients are thinking about.
While some family members, friends or care coordinators may cease frequent visits to terminally ill patients due to grief, despair and other reasons, simply being present in the same room can be an extremely soothing experience for patients, say experts.
A 2012 nationwide survey suggested that many older Japanese, male and female alike, would prefer to die at home, but far more than half pass away in a hospital. The gap is believed to be attributable not only to a lack of home medical services in communities but also to excessive medical care provided by hospitals to terminally ill patients, often against their will and resulting in unnecessary pain. In a government survey, 70 percent of people said they felt they should draw up plans for their death, but only 3 percent had actually done so.