Health Care Provider and Faith Diversity

Health Care Provider and Faith Diversity Grand Canyon University: HLT-310V March 16, 2013 Abstract Health care is a very diverse field. Two patients with the same diagnosis would have very different plans of care due to the underlying conditions and faith or religious practices involved with each patients healing process. This paper will discuss the healing aspect of three religions: Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism and compare them to the healing aspect of Christianity. Also information important to health care worker when caring for patients of these religions will be discussed.
Health Care Provider and Faith Diversity Christianity if the largest religion in the world and is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. Christianity has over two billion followers and there are thirty four thousand different denominations that followers classify themselves under. These include Jehovah Witnesses who believe in one God, Jehovah. They believe illness comes from the mind and body. Illness was passed on from Adam because he lost perfection. Jehovah Witnesses seek health care when they are sick but they refuse blood products since it’s prohibited by biblical passages. Winslow, n. d, pg 10-11) Protestants use prayer for communication to God and believe that “God forgives freely and will save all who accept the gift of Jesus’ death for salvation”. (Winslow, n. d pg 14) Health practices should include improvements on the mind, body and spirit. Protestants do not have specific restrictions when it comes to receiving medical treatments. (Winslow, n. d pg 14-15) Judaism teaches there is a single God and focuses more on actions than on beliefs. Jews use the Torah, a gift from God, as a guide to how one should live their life.
Health care workers are seen as instruments of God and are important when caring for the sick. (Winslow, n. d, pg26) Christians believe in one God, but this God contains three elements: God the Father, God the Son and The Holy Spirit. Christians believe that all healing comes from God through the work of Jesus Christ and promise of the Holy Spirit. Prayer is the component used to obtain healing, since all healing is Gods choice, it’s not guaranteed that one will be healed. The Holy Bible is the doctrine that outlines the core beliefs of Christianity. Islam Islam is the second largest religion in the world and is practiced by Muslims.

Similar to Christianity, where the belief is in one All-knowing God, “Islam teaches the one can only find peace by submitting in heart, soul and deed to the Almighty God Allah. ” (Winslow, n. d, pg 29). Prayer is a critical component of healing for both religions. Muslims use The Quran as book of guidance for good health and healing, and Christians follow the Holy Bible. Muslims and Christians also share the belief that God has power in everything and is responsible for healing, “belief in and submission to the will of God is the most essential part of good health care. (Stacey, 2008). Muslims believe that their bodies are a trust given to them by God and should be used for the attainment of salvation. Muslims view health care workers as agents of God in healing. Some things for health care worker to consider when caring for a Muslim patient are their strong religious concerns regarding modesty. Most Muslims will not accept health care from provider from the opposite sex. They pray five times a day and may desire to pray bending or kneeling on the floor. (Ehman, 2007).
So accommodating them with space and privacy to do so is important and beneficial to their healing process. Muslims may understand their pain to be spiritually enriching and may hesitant to accept pain medication. (Ehman, 2007). Also since most Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset during the 30-day month of Ramadan, it’s important for the provider to be aware of this and explore with the patient if this is medically appropriate during hospitalization. Hinduism Hinduism is possibly the world’s oldest religion.
Hindus have beliefs in many meanings or purposes in life. “Loving nature and the importance of living simply and in balance with God and nature is the foundation of Hindu healing. ” (Hindu beliefs, n. d) unlike Christians whose foundation for healing is a belief and commitment to God. The four elements earth, air, fire and water represent the elements of mankind which is physical, spiritual, emotional and mental. There is a state of health when these elements are in balance and when even one of them is off balance then illness occurs.
Christians use prayer to achieve health and healing while Muslims use meditation as a way of health, and yoga as a way to balance the elements to avoid illness. Christians believe that all healing is the work of God. Hindus believe in Karma, which states that each person reaps what they sow so therefore a person will be healed if they deserve to be healed. Hindus also have respect for healthcare workers. It’s important for provider to be aware that Hindus have religious concerns about modesty and will refuse treatment from the opposite sex. Ehman, 2007). Since they follow vegetarian diet, they will not accept medications that contain animal products. A cultural norm is to use the right hand for “clean” tasks like eating and the left hand for “dirty” tasks like using the bathroom. (Ehman, 2007). Providers should be mindful of this when moving a patient in any way. Buddhism Buddhism is the fourth largest religion but is more of a spiritual practice than a religion. A concept central to Buddhism is the Four Nobel Truths that defines the cause and existence of suffering.
It is believed that one can eliminate suffering by following the Eightfold Path which consist of “1) accept the Four Noble Truths, 2) renounce the pleasures of the senses and harbor no ill will toward anyone, 3) do not lie, slander, or abuse anyone, 4) do not destroy any living creature and take only what is given to you, 5) earn your livelihood in a way that harms no one, 6) prevent evil from arising in you and strive to acquire good qualities, 7) be observant, alert, contemplative, and free of desire and sorrow, and 8) meditate. ” (Winslow, n. , pg 21) while Christians believe that surrendering to God will eliminate suffering if He sees fit. Buddhist believe that sickness is a result of laziness in their lifestyle or faith which differs from Christianity which view sickness as punishment from God. Buddhist and Christians use prayer to achieve health but in addition Buddhist also use” meditation, good hygiene, healthy eating, stretching and exercise along with deep breathing” (The Medicine Buddha, n. d) as a path to a health. When caring for a Buddhist patient, healthcare worker should be aware that they value peace and quiet and may request a quiet space in order to meditate. Ehman, 2007). They are vegetarian and may refuse medications that contain animal products. They value mindful awareness of all experiences of life and may not want to take pain medications that would cloud their awareness. The provider would need to be specific in the discussion about side effects of medications, and also clarify to the patient and family that if a patient is suffering a great deal, a little pain medication may actually help them gain more awareness. In conclusion, this research has given me a lot of insight into how to better care for these types of patients.
It also reinforces the importance of being a culturally competent health care worker. Being ill and in the hospital away from what makes one comfortable and secure is very stressful. Gaining a patients trust and confidence that they can be cared for by competent providers ensures a positive experience for the patient and the staff. It would be beneficial for staff to approach either the patient or family and find preferences or specific needs the patient requires to have the best experience and receive the highest quality of care possible. References Ehman, J. (2007, April 20). Religious Diversity: Practical Points for Health Care Providers.
In Penn Medicine. Retrieved March 15, 2013, from http://www. uphs. upenn. edu/pastoral/resed/diversity_points. html Stacey, A. (2008). Health in Islam (part 2of 4): Quran is a Healing. In The Religion of Islam. Retrieved March 15, 2013, from http://www. islamreligion. com/articles/1891/ The Medicine Buddha and the Philosophy of Healing. (n. d. ). Retrieved March 15, 2013, from http://www. heaven-and-earth-home-remedies. com/medicine-buddha. html Winslow, G. R. (n. d. ). Health care and Religious Beliefs (pp. 4-35). N. p. : Loma Linda University Health Systems. Retrieved March 15, 2013, from lomalindahealth. org

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