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Dr Nakajima visits the Cicely Saunders Institute

Dr Nobuhisa Nakajima, a Palliative Care Physician based at the Higashi Sapporo Hospital in Japan, visited the Cicely Saunders Institute on the 4th June 2013. Dr Nakajima has long-standing links with the Institute through his innovative work developing a Japanese version of Support Team Assessment Schedule (STAS). STAS was developed by Professor Irene Higginson in 1986, as the first measure of clinical and intermediate outcomes in palliative care; it has been used all over the world and is the precursor tool to the Palliative Care Outcome Scale (POS).

‘In my hospital, Higashi Sapporo, there are two Palliative Care units. We evaluate the quality of a patient’s status using STAS, to find any problems they have and make plans for improving the patient’s condition...it is very useful and many people think so’

Dr Nakajima has been using STAS in his daily practice in Japan for almost 10 years and has been helping to popularise the tool through his research and educational activities.

Having been introduced to the POS by Professor Irene Higginson in 2012, at the European Association of Palliative Care (EAPC) conference in Trondheim, Dr Nakajima has more recently begun working with the POS in Japan.

“A patient oriented tool is needed – I use the STAS in my daily practice – so for me POS is a very interesting tool”

“I have a great interest in POS. STAS is evaluated by medical staff but POS involves the evaluation of patient and carer and medical professionals – this is very important.”

Asked about what kind of impact POS can have in Japan, Dr Nakajima discussed the importance of engaging nurses, doctors and other key medical staff through educating and supporting the proper use of the tool. Dr Nakajima is in the early stages of testing the POS with patients in Japan, and work is underway to produce a Japanese translation of the POS in collaboration with colleagues at the Cicely Saunders Institute.

“I love STAS but I will love POS even more – and I am eager to develop the Japanese version of the POS!