An exploration of person-centred approach in end-of-life care policies in England and Japan

Chao Fang, Miho Tanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Increasing evidence has suggested that a person-centred approach (PCA) is beneficial not only for improving care outcomes but also for mitigating the pressure on public health systems. However, policy implementation gaps have prevented the translation of this complex framework into useful practical, ethical and moral stances for end-of-life care (EOLC). This article aims to explore the meaning and implications of person-centredness in EOLC policy discourses.
Methods: By perceiving policy documents as a medium embodied with socio-political and cultural norms, we analysed how PCA in EOLC is constructed within specific socio-cultural contexts and the implications of these contexts on resultant care. Focusing on England and Japan, we conducted a critical policy analysis to examine and compare key policy and legal documents released between 2000 and 2019 in these two post-industrial and socio-culturally distinctive countries.
Results: Our analysis found that the PCA is mobilised in policy discourses primarily through three interconnected dimensions: individual, relational and existential. While acknowledging that both countries have developed varied policy and legal mechanisms to emphasise holistic and integrated care with respect to these three dimensions, we also identified significant gaps in the policies both within and between England and Japan. They include ambiguity in defining patients’ best interests, fragmented support for social and family care and the neglect of existential needs.
Conclusions: This cross-cultural analysis has revealed the complex nature of discourses around PCA in English and Japanese EOLC policies, which often concentrate on the multifaceted aspects of experiences as one approaches the end of life. Despite this, we argue that a more holistic construction of PCA is needed in EOLC policies not only in England and Japan but also more broadly, to encapsulate the richness of end-of-life experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Article number68
JournalBMC Palliative Care
Issue number1
Early online date11 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2022


  • Best interests
  • End-of-life care
  • England
  • Existential distress
  • Japan
  • Person-centred approach
  • Policy
  • Relationality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'An exploration of person-centred approach in end-of-life care policies in England and Japan'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this