Culturally Adapted Consensus Definition and Action Guideline: Japan's Advance Care Planning



      A conceptual framework for advance care planning is lacking in societies like Japan's valuing family-centered decision-making.


      A consensus definition of advance care planning with action guideline adapted to Japanese society.


      We conducted a multidisciplinary modified Delphi study 2020–2022. Thirty physicians, 10 healthcare and bioethics researchers, six nurses, three patient care managers, three medical social workers, three law experts, and a chaplain evaluated, in 7 rounds (including two web-based surveys where the consensus level was defined as ratings by ≥70% of panelists of 7–9 on a nine-point Likert scale), brief sentences delineating the definition, scope, subjects, and action guideline for advance care planning in Japan.


      The resulting 29-item set attained the target consensus level, with 72%–96% of item ratings 7–9. Advance care planning was defined as “an individual's thinking about and discussing with their family and other people close to them, with the support as necessary of healthcare providers who have established a trusting relationship with them, preparations for the future, including the way of life and medical treatment and care that they wish to have in the future.” This definition/action guideline specifically included support for individuals hesitant to express opinions to develop and express preparations for the future.


      Adaptation of advance care planning to Japanese culture by consciously enhancing and supporting individuals’ autonomous decision-making may facilitate its spread and establishment in Japan and other societies with family-centered decision-making cultures.

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