Relaxed Atmosphere from Finland – Anticipation of Needs from Japan
Sparkling wine, strawberry cake, coffee and gifts elated the farewell party of Mr. Kenichi Kuratani and Ms. Yuka Oonishi at the nursing home of Villa Tapiola in September 28. During their one week work period Mr. Kenichi and Ms. Oonishi had an opportunity to compare the Finnish and Japanese care work practices. Relaxed atmosphere and flexible timetables were something they would like to bring back home to ease the busy and tight schedule at their work place in Osaka.
Mr. Kenichi and Ms. Oonishi spent two weeks in Finland as expert participants in the HANAKO project.
Individuality and Flexibility
Individual care of Villa Tapiola’s residents was an interesting experience for Mr. Kenichi and Ms. Oonishi.
“In Japan, all residents of a nursing home do together same things at the same time. They wake up, eat breakfast and participate in therapies and activities in accordance with the daily schedule, which is common to all residents. We believe that individual schedules are better for both the seniors and the employees.”
Ms. Tuula Laulaja, director of Villa Tapiola, told how flexible working hours serve the individual needs of the residents. “Only one needs to come here at seven o’clock so that the night shift worker can go home. The others come between eight and ten o’clock. Correspondingly, they have three hours bandwidth also in the afternoons. Thanks to this arrangement, residents can wake up and have their meals whenever they want to.”
Mr. Kenichi and Ms. Oonishi would like to bring flexibility to Japan, but they were concerned about its suitability to a large unit, where meals are prepared by a kitchen personnel who have their own schedule.
Both praised the Finnish sauna, which in their opinion is easier and less time consuming than the Japanese baths.
Peculiar Lifting Devices
Using lifting devices to move patients rather than lifting them manually was a strange experience for Mr. Kenichi and Ms. Oonishi. “In Japan, we do not use lifting devices. Somehow they strike us as inhuman. Goods are lifted with devices, human beings with hands.”
However, by using the devices, they learned to appreciate them. As Ms. Laulaja explained, lifting devices reduce injuries related to manual lifting.
“I have made a number of pictures and other material of these devices for Kenichi and Yuka to take back home”, she said.
From Reaction to Anticipation
All three agreed that Finns could learn anticipation from Japanese.
“In Japan, it is important that the caregiver pays attention to the needs of residents before they ask for something. Here we wait until residents ask for something, change of a diaper or a shirt. Back home, we keep an eye on residents all the time. Somebody is always watching”, Ms. Oonishi explained.
Organising stimulating activities and therapies is another thing we could learn from Japanese, Ms. Laulaja added. Personnel’s training in this field has already started in Villa Tapiola.
Mr. Kenichi and Ms. Oonishi praised the atmosphere of Helsinki.
“There are many beautiful and historical buildings. In Japan, old buildings are usually demolished and replaced by new ones. Also, the small size of the city is charming.”.
Mr. Kenichi had visited Finland earlier, but Ms. Oonishi was surprised about the amount of interest in Japan.
“I am glad that people here are interested in the Japanese culture. I believe that when we tell about our experiences in Finland, many Japanese want to come to a visit to learn new practices.”