English / Japanese

[Department of Nursing & Health, School of Nursing & Health]
Professor MOMOSE Yumiko

Won’t you join me in working on nursing education programs in elderly facilities and developing easy-to-use assistive devices and self-help devices?

From Practicing Home Care to the Path of a Researcher in My Late Thirties

I wasn’t aiming to become a researcher from the beginning. After graduation, I worked as a nurse in terminal care sites and was involved in establishing a center for cancer screening. Later, motivated by giving birth and raising a child, I got a job in visiting care, which I had been interested in previously. In the sense of broadening my range of activities in new ways, it was worthwhile and interesting, but it made me realize the differences with hospital care. In hospital care, the medical professionals decide the pace for giving care and treatment, but in home care there is a demand for round-the-clock support according to a pace and approach set by the caregiver or the family. It was really an eye-opening experience for me.

At that time, I felt a dilemma when my proposals for better care were not accepted. For example, even if I recommended bathing services or home help services to the caregiver, they would not use them because they were worried about appearances, saying, “We have a daughter-in-law, so we can’t rely on outside help.” Realizing that “there is a connection with the social norm called appearances as one of the factors that inhibits the use of long-term care services,” I decided to undertake joint research with my colleagues and set out on the path to become a researcher.

Respecting the Wishes of the Elderly and Developing the Field of Long-Term Care

Gerontology is a comparatively new field of scholarship on care that takes into consideration changes in the bodily functions and mental aspects of the elderly. Since the long-term care insurance system started, the use of long-term care services has progressed to an extent much higher than before, but there are new problems emerging as well. That is, under the present circumstances, there are many cases where the wishes of the elderly are not being respected.

The results of a study showed that when choosing whether to live at home or to live in a facility, the elderly individual decides in less than 10% of cases, while in most cases the family or care manager decides. When I presented these findings at an international conference, people were shocked and responded, “What’s wrong with Japan?” I went on a fact-finding tour to Northern Europe and other countries, and they are very clear about expressing the wishes of the elderly there. On the assumption that they will lose the ability to express their wishes in the future, people put down on paper in advance the kind of medical treatment and care they desire, and there is legislation being put in place to respect these wishes.

Another topic of my research is stress management for nurses in long-term care health facilities. Elderly facilities have shorter histories than hospitals, so their education systems are not as well established. They are placed in extremely stressful situations, including cooperating with people from all different lines of work, dealing with elderly with dementia, and working alone at night, so it is difficult to work there for long periods of time. Therefore, I am hoping to be able to work with people from elderly facilities to develop specialized education programs from now on.

Furthermore, by making the most of connections possible only at our university between the School of Nursing and Health, the School of Information Science and Technology, and the Department of Design at Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music, I am working on developing assistive devices and self-help devices for long-term care, so I would be happy to hear from people who are interested.


Department of Nursing and Health, School of Nursing and Health

Professor MOMOSE Yumiko

Areas of Specialty: Gerontological Nursing

After graduating from college, she acquired practical experience working at a cancer center and being a home nurse. From her experiences on the job, she felt the need for deeper research into the sense of burden associated with long-term care, so she entered graduate school in her late thirties while juggling housework and childcare. She received a doctorate. Having experienced the realities of nursing, she says, “I can convey things to students based on experience with an added touch of scientific backing.” A phrase she likes is “Learn when you want to learn.” Her current concern is that she is too busy.

Interview: ITō Yuji; Writer: MIYAMOTO Yumiko


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