Possibility of Developing Volunteer Activities during the Dying Process: Evaluation of a Few Japanese and Canadian Case Studies.

Friday, 20 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Ken TAKENAKA, Kyushu University of Nursing and Social Welfare, Japan
In this report, I will focus on some of the activities of volunteers who work in end-of-life care. Some volunteers’ activities cannot be done by paid health care providers. The dying process is always a very individual matter and it sometimes requires constant care by someone. Some advanced cases in both Japanese and Canadian hospitals show how valuable such activities are for patients. I will discuss the possibility of developing successful volunteer activities in the medical system in Asian societies.  I will also focus on how to develop a volunteer association in Japan. Japanese hospital volunteers may not always be fully active for various reasons. In the Canadian case, they have had success in estimating which volunteer activities are truly helpful not only for patients but for the entire institution. Once they judge that a certain activity is, in fact helpful, local governments can actively support it with sufficient funds. Such authority might be placed in an institution's hands to endorse volunteer activities and perhaps even give permission to conduct fund-raising to support these activities. In the same way, if they judge that certain volunteer activities aren't helpful, they can withdraw their support. Local governments can take the role of estimating which volunteer activities are actually needed and worthwhile. The money that government would normally give to fund volunteers could be much less than the funds saved by downsizing hospitals. While the government remains eager to place volunteers into hospitals, hospitals are often unable to realize their full value or ready to use volunteers to the fullest extent. The gap between recognizing the true value of volunteers and their actual use, and between what governments expect and what hospitals actually experience, evidences a less than successful mobilization of this type of volunteerism in Japan.