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  4. Report on the 2018 Special Lecture Series on Kokoro: Learning about “Humanitude”, a Caregiving Method Developed in France for Elderly Patients with Dementia

Report on the 2018 Special Lecture Series on Kokoro: Learning about “Humanitude”, a Caregiving Method Developed in France for Elderly Patients with Dementia

The “2018 Special Lecture Series on Kokoro: Learning about “Humanitude”, a Caregiving Method Developed in France” was held on December 1, 2018 at Inamori Center. The event was organized and moderated by Prof. Sakiko Yoshikawa.

In her introduction of the “Special Lecture Series on Kokoro”, which started 2013 at the Kokoro Research Center, Prof. Sakiko Yoshikawa explained how the series has provided educational specialists and medical professionals with opportunities to gain scientific and practical knowledge about kokoro.

The founder of Humanitude, Prof. Yves Gineste, made a surprise appearance and participated in the discussion and Q&A sections of the event.


Dr. Honda

Prof. Gineste    Prof. Yoshikawa

Dr. Miwako Honda (Director, General Medicine, National Tokyo Medical Center) presented a lecture on the philosophy and practice of Humanitude. During the lecture, she showed a video clip of patients refusing hygiene routines (e.g. showering, eating, taking medication and oral care) to illustrate how time that should be pleasant can be turned into a very stressful time for both patients and nurses. In Japan, nurses and other caregiving professionals working with dementia patients have high turnover rates. This is problematic because one in three people over 85 years old experiences a decline in cognitive functioning and patients with dementia are increasing. Dr. Honda explained that Humanitude is a skill set that enables cartakers to communicate kindness to the care receiver in ways that they understand.

Humanitutde is a caregiving method that is easy for anyone to learn. The four key components of these communication skills are “looking, talking, touching and standing”. The goal is to build a good relationship between caregivers and care-receivers while creating a sense of sharing a good time together in the process. Caregivers experience greater fulfillment in their work when they feel that their method of caring for patients has effects. In France, it is reported that at hospitals where Humanitude is used, turnover rate has declined and medical expenses have decreased.

Humanitude is a method that can be used with anyone (e.g. dementia patients, the elderly, children, patients with mild to severe symptoms). The statistics have shown that Humanitude is also effective in ICUs. Dr. Honda has provided training to patients’ family members which reduced their sense of burden caused by caregiving. In Fukuoka City, Humanitude is used in elementary schools and the city promotes building environments in the wider community to give others the opportunity to learn about Humanitude.

At Kyoto University, informatics and neuroscience research is being conducted to investigate the effectiveness of Humanitutde. Dr. Honda concluded her lecture by stating that Humanitude keeps evolving organically.
Prof. Gineste explained how Humanitude is a practical method that has been developed over 40 years by working with 30,000 patients. The Humanitude skills are based on independence, equality and humanity. These skills are important skills not only in a caregiving settings, but also in other societal contexts.

Mr. Tomo Yoshikawa

Following Prof. Gineste, Mr. Tomo Yoshikawa (Director, OT, Smile Link Day Service Egao Plus) lectured on “An approach to dementia through occupational therapy and the hope for Humanitude”. He discussed how occupational therapists’ jobs involve paying attention to what patients can do, bringing out the best in them and supporting their independence.
Although it is challenging to identify what patients “can do”, using the basic skills of Humanitude has helped therapists find “meaningful activities” and not miss signs of potential capabilities. Mr. Yoshikawa introduced some examples from his work.

During the discussion, the lecturers answered questions from participants, such as, “What can we do to support patients families?”, “Is caregiving done by two people?”, and “The independence of patients is important, but safety and independence are contradictory. What should we do?” In response to the question, “I am not very good at communication. What can I do?”, Prof. Gineste demonstrated how to effectively touch and make eye contact by having the participants practice with each other. The special lecture was given in a harmonious and warm manner with active participation by those in attendance.

To watch the clip from the “Elderly care research channel”, please click the link

Participants’ Responses

The lecturers’ theoretical, philosophical and medical explanations helped me understand the lectures. -a member of a nursing staff-

It was a great lecture course. I was very happy to be reminded of why working with people is important. I would like to continue learning about such topics. -psychiatric counselor-

I am grateful for Prof. Gineste’s appearance. I would like to learn more about Humanitude so I can put the skills into practice when communicating with my clients, even though I don’t have enough opportunities to do physical care because I am a care manager.

I have heard of Humanitutde before, but here I got to learn the ideas and philosophy behind it. In Dr. Honda’s lecture, I was reminded of issues arising in current medical settings. -speech and hearing therapist-

It was beneficial to hear Prof. Gineste speak about his philosophy. It is easy to leave out client’s dignity when work is so busy. I intend to put this philosophy into practice. -Speech and hearing therapist-

We are all equal and deserve rights. It is important to let the other person know they need to be treated as important. I would like to practice Humanitude with people with dementia. Throughout the lectures, I felt touched and it brought tears to my eyes. -nursing staff member-

Humanitude is beneficial for everyone, not only people with dementia. It is important to maintain a sense of respect and trust for others. -public health nurse-

I was looking forward to this lecture event as I have been very interested in Humanitude. I trust that I can build a kind relationship with people if I keep learning these skills. It was moving me to learn from Dr. Honda and Prof. Gineste first-hand. -Care support specialist-

It was great to hear Mr. Yoshikawa’s talk about how he put his intention in to practice with his clients and that he learned a lot by doing that. -a nursing staff member-

[Event Information]