A sunset with flowers in the foreground.

Ageing and End of Life Care in East Asia

An ongoing initiative to explore culture, practice, and policy concerning death, dying, and bereavement in East Asian contexts.

Dr Chao Fang has been leading various collaborations between researchers and practitioners in the UK and East Asia (China and Japan) to deepen the understanding of socio-medical discourses surrounding dying and ageing in East Asian cultures.

This project was initiated through a joint venture with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 2017, with a primary focus on stimulating scholarly dialogue and public awareness regarding end-of-life care in China. The collaboration was subsequently expanded to include the Shanghai Academy (a think tank) and Shanghai University, with the aim of exploring the barriers and potential facilitators for promoting end-of-life care in Shanghai and across China. One of the key initiatives nurtured through this partnership involves utilising aesthetic mediums to help practitioners and the general public gain a better grasp of the value of end-of-life care in China, a culture where discussions about death are still largely considered taboo.

Dr Chao Fang attending the Art in Hospice and Palliative Care celebration in Shanghai, May 2023
Dr Chao Fang attending the Art in Hospice and Palliative Care celebration in Shanghai, May 2023

The current primary focus of the project is to adapt and localise Western end-of-life care educational resources to suit the unique Chinese contexts. Chao has been working closely with practitioners across China to identify key professional development and learning needs within different health and social care settings. Future plans in alignment with this priority will aim to connect like-minded academics and practitioners in both the UK and China, with the goal of developing short-term training programmes and postgraduate degree courses centred around end-of-life and palliative care philosophy, practice, and policymaking within the Chinese contexts.

In addition to China, this initiative has collaborated with researchers in Japan to explore the intersections of culture, practice, and policy between end-of-life care in the United Kingdom and Japan. For instance, Chao has conducted a cross-cultural comparison of end-of-life care policies between England and Japan, shedding light on how the interconnected individual, relational, and existential end-of-life care needs are defined and negotiated within these two distinctive cultures.

Related publication

Fang, C., & Tanaka, M. (2022). An exploration of person-centred approach in end-of-life care policies in England and Japan. BMC palliative care, 21(1), 68. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12904-022-00965-w



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