A special facility that offers short-term stays for cancer patients who are usually based at home has been opened at a clinic in Tokyo's Sumida Ward, it has been learned.
Clinic Kawagoe appears to have tapped into a gap in the medical care market, as there are numerous cancer patients in Japan who require temporary stays at medical facilities due to family circumstances and other reasons. However, admission to palliative care units at conventional hospitals is a complicated process.
With the facility's opening, there are calls for similar facilities across the country to provide support to cancer patients needing urgent admission into a professional medical environment.
The person behind the new facility is Dr. Ko Kawagoe, director of Clinic Kawagoe. As of September this year, there were only two beds, prompting him to refer to the clinic as a "small hostel." Inside, there are white walls, wood-grain fittings, and subtle lighting, which combine to provide a warm atmosphere. As Kawagoe explains, "The place is an extension of the home. I didn't want to make it feel like a hospital."
As cancer progresses, it can become physically exhausting for family members to provide constant care. There are also cases where cancer patients who live alone develop severe anxiety. Kawagoe, who has many years of home care experience, says he looked at this situation and thought, "There is a need to provide a temporary 'place of refuge' that can be used by patients easily."
With the hurdles for opening up a group home being too high, Kawagoe decided to launch a facility where patients can maintain the same relationships with their doctors and nurses that they had while being based at home.
"I want to provide an option for patients for whenever they start to struggle at home, easing the burden on the patient and family members while also offering an alternative to going into hospital," Kawagoe says.
He adds, "I want to provide psychological support to patients normally based at home. I'm not trying to fill the beds in order to make profit." So far, the facility has hosted two patients.
Another feature of the facility is that volunteers take part in caring for patients. Hiromi Kawagoe, who runs the nonprofit organization "Zaitaku Hospice Volunteer Kibo," which nurtures such volunteers, says, "We want to provide a new form of care, while also providing high-standard medical care."
A charity concert to help the NPO and a related lecture will take place on Oct. 27 in Tokyo's Sumida Ward. For further information about the event, call 03-5669-8302 (in Japanese).