Abstract As healthcare providers we must keep in mind that we provide care to patients from a number of different religious traditions. It is our job to understand and respect the ideals that may affect our patient and family members. Sixty one percent of Americans state that religion is the most important thing in their daily lives, (Gallup, 1990). Ninety four percent agreed that spiritual health is just as important as physical health. The Joint Council for accreditation of healthcare organizations (JCAHO), states that a spiritual assessment should be preformed on each patient identifying their denomination, beliefs and spiritual practices.
With so many different religions, it is difficult to know what our patient’s beliefs and rituals are. So it is important to ask the patient and their family members about their cultural and religious beliefs while hospitalized. Understanding their beliefs can lead to a positive hospital experience. For some, the simple belief in the power of prayer can be displayed. Understanding your patient’s religious beliefs is important because it can be a deciding factor to many tests or procedures. Healthcare professionals should be familiar with moral and religious norms.
There may be a time when your religious beliefs don’t come close to what your patient believes, but it is critical to find a middle ground where they can practice their beliefs without affecting yours. It’s not our jobs to question or try to understand our patient’s beliefs, but it is important to allow our patients to utilize their beliefs in the fullest to encourage the patient to heal physically, mentally and spiritually. Christian Perspectives/Components of Care and Healing Many Christians believe that if you live a clean life, develop spirituality and believe in God, you will be spared from disease.
More and more Christians have viewed the readings of Jesus healing the sick with his hands and fallen towards other methods of healing such as Reiki. There are several passages from the bible that talk about Jesus healing with his hands. Jesus uses his hands to heal Peter’s mother in law from fever, he also uses his hands to heal someone from leprosy, and he uses touch to heal a man who is deaf and cannot speak. The scripture clearly indicates that healing by touch is something that Christians should be involved in. Being blessed by a priest while hospitalized is very important for the Catholic patient.
Offering them communion and allowing the Priest to give them their last rites if the patient is dying is also something that must be done for this patient. Some Christians will carry a rosary or wear a scapula around their neck, this is there way of feeling Jesus is with them as they heal. Buddhist Buddhist believe that the mind is the creator of sickness and health. Spirituality is a huge part of healing. They strongly believe that to prevent sickness they need to purify or clear the negative karma that remains on their midstream.
To clear the bad karma, they believe in using meditation, burning incense and chant. Some Buddhist believe that illness can be brought on by a curse. If this is believed they will call in an exorcist to get rid of the bad spirit through chanting, or using magical potions. The Buddhist patient may feel comforted by setting up a make shift altar nearby, where he can display a figure of Buddha. Buddhist do not have any problem with receiving blood or blood products. Meditation is an important part of healing and is believed to relieve or ease suffering.
Generally Buddhist do not have any problem with gender when it comes to health care providers nor do they hold grudges to those who do not follow their Buddhist ways. One of their basic beliefs is that they refrain from taking intoxicating drink or medication that will cloud their mind. But explaining that taking analgesics will relieve pain and suffering is usually welcome. Jehovah Witnesses Believing that Jehovah is their only God, they also believe that Satan was once an angel and is now an evil and powerful spirit that is against Jehovah. They believe in God but do not believe in faith healing.
This religion does not believe in accepting any blood or any type of blood products, including their own blood. This decision is an individual choice, each patient must be asked in private what their wishes are in regards to receiving blood or blood products. If a patient decides to receive blood and the Jehovah Witness community finds out about that information, that person could be shunned from their community. It is our job to make sure the patient understands the consequences of refusing specific treatments. Although they do believe in organ donation, the organ must be completely drained of any blood before accepted.
Dialysis also accepted providing that they are one hundred percent confident that their blood is not involved. Some Jehovah Witnesses will also seek alternative medical treatment such as chiropractic, acupuncture, colon cleansing and massage therapy. Jehovah Witnesses do not accept medical procedures that include mysticism, appealing to nature gods, or miraculous healing. Jehovah Witness will accept pain medications for pain management if it is prescribed by traditional medicine. Some Jehovah Witness will try other alternatives such as relaxation therapy, diversion therapy, or something similar.
They do not have a preference to gender when it comes to healthcare. But they do feel compelled to share their religion with everyone as they believe they are granting them salvation. Native Americans Native Americans believe that their well-being or wholeness comes from walking in harmony with nature and the universe. Falling out of step with nature and the universe will cause illness, and disharmony in the mind body and spirit. When illness arises, Native Americans will seek help from a traditional medicine man or woman to properly care for the spirit.
Most Native Americans allow blood transfusion, although Navajo Indians do not. Organ donation is accepted by all Native Americans, except the Navajos. They prefer to have the same sex in health care providers. They have items that are sacred to them such as feathers, stones, fur, claws, and antlers. It is important to keep these items with them at all times even during procedures. Treat these items with great respect. Ceremonial rituals are important with family members and healthcare providers should provide privacy for the family unless asked to stay by the family.
If the person is having an amputation, make sure to ask the patient what their tradition is what is to be required after the body part is removed. Most Native Americans will deny pain medication, for fear of getting addicted to it. Make sure that the patient understands all of their options regarding pain management. Native Americans may have special requests for certain foods during ceremonial times, especially particular teas. When preparing food for a diabetic or heart patient, it is important to use traditional food recipes, and change to fit their dietary requirements.
Conclusion It is interesting to me that when ill or not we all believe in prayer, whether it is to God, Or Buddha, regardless of who we pray to, it, is something that binds us together as one nation. It is also important as healthcare providers we are in constant contact with people from all walks of life. And it is important to treat all people with respect and provide quality patient care to them. Understanding someone else’s cultural and beliefs are truly important for the healing process. It is important to keep an opened and unbiased mind.