As the first of its kind in the nation, the Keiro-Providence Iyashi Care program leverages Providence’s nationally renowned leadership in palliative treatment and Keiro’s deep experience and history of providing health and support services to older adults in the Japanese American and Japanese community. The program goal is to improve the quality of life for these older adults by enabling them to continue living in their community, while decreasing hospital admissions.

Advancing quality of life through our whole-person approach, Iyashi Care provides palliative care for older Japanese American and Japanese adults with serious illnesses. Cultural values still very much influence healthcare decisions for patients in the Japanese American and Japanese community. It is a common mentality during medical treatment that one should gambaru (endure through difficult times, including poor health and discomfort).

Shikata ga nai (it cannot be helped) is another view that patients often have of their illness because they think that nausea or fatigue is simply a side effect of their medication that they must tolerate. 

Even if the patient recognizes their symptoms or situation as something that can be managed, they may employ enryo (to behave with modesty, to be reserved, to be humble or to hesitate) because they would rather not burden their loved ones or doctors with their problems.

The Iyashi Care team recognizes these cultural values and is equipped to address them as they work to enhance the quality of life and medical experience for older adults in the Japanese American and Japanese community. 

Fifteen years after beating cancer, Masami found herself battling a familiar enemy. Iyashi Care helped Masami and her husband, Hiro, navigate the health care system while fighting her illness. “The team truly is a group of care specialists. They know how to support us medically and, more importantly, emotionally,” says Hiro.


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