Palliative care in Japan: Current status and a nationwide challenge to improve palliative care by the cancer control act and the Outreach Palliative Care Trial of Integrated Regional Model (OPTIM) study

Akemi Yamagishi, Tatsuya Morita, Mitsunori Miyashita, Nobuya Akizuki, Yoshiyuki Kizawa, Yutaka Shirahige, Miki Akiyama, Hirai Kei Hirai, Tadashi Kudo, Takuhiro Yamaguchi, Asuka Fukushima, Kenji Eguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

40 Citations (Scopus)


Palliative care is an essential part of integrated cancer treatment. To improve palliative care throughout Japan, a nationwide demonstration project, the Outreach Palliative Care Trial of Integrated Regional Model (OPTIM) study, is ongoing. This article reviews the current status and the problems of palliative care in Japan and introduces the OPTIM study. Although the number of palliative care services is increasing, empirical evidence shows the quality of life of cancer patients is still inadequate. The OPTIM study is an intervention trial targeting 4 areas across Japan. Primary end points are quality of care reported by patients as well as the bereaved family, number of patients who received specialized palliative care services, and place of death. The interventions are comprehensively designed to cover all areas identified by the national task force. The OPTIM study will contribute to improve patients' quality of life by proposing a regional palliative care model suitable for Japan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-418
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Oct 1



  • Neoplasms
  • Palliative care
  • Regional trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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