Medical Education Center, Department of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Nutrition & Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan. Electronic address: [Email]
Numerous socio-legal factors make the process of surrogate decision-making for people living in dementia very complicated in Japan. In this discussion paper, we argue that the lack of early consultation between patients, surrogate decision-makers and healthcare providers and the overreliance of patients and their families on doctors to assume the decision-making role lead to healthcare practices that may not align with the patient's wishes. Further, we argue that lack of laws on surrogate decision-making, changing family structure and the liabilities associated with the care of people living with dementia contribute to the complexity of the decision-making process in Japan. Finally, given the rapidly changing social and healthcare norms in Japan, we call for greater involvement of nurses and care workers in the decision-making process to ensure patient-centric treatment and care are adopted.