Faith Diversities in Health Care
HLT310V - Foundations of Spirituality in Health Care
Grand Canyon University
February 27th, 2011
This paper is an introduction to concepts of cultural and religious tolerance in the western health care field with an emphasis on the holistic approach, incorporating mind, body and spirituality. It uses Christianity as a baseline for cultural and spiritual comparison and contrasts against Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism. Healthcare environment, personal boundaries, meditation and death are each discussed briefly in context of cultural and religious perspectives. For Buddhism, concepts of clarity, balance and meditation as well as ...view middle of the document...
Moreover, training in cultural diversity is critical for nurses as most cultural belief systems are propagated through religious values. By being accommodating of these differences, a greater efficiency in the delivery of health services may be achieved (Numrich, 2003). Understanding this diversity may help in bridging the gap that exists between religious beliefs and standard practices in the health care industry (Sutherland, 2011).
Comparison of Different Belief Systems
While nurses cannot answer every patient’s question, they must be committed to the exploration for answers (MacLaren, 2003). Although this assertion is rather neutral and may be applied in diverse religious or spiritual frameworks, it is assumed that spiritual answers are beneficial. In order to understand differences between belief systems, this paper compares three people, each of different faiths, with the traditional Christian faith in respect to medical care. Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism philosophies were studied through patient interviews, resulting in the Appendix. Their names were altered for privacy purposes.
The Christian Perspective
From the research undertaken on Christian beliefs with regard to health care it is seen that Christians are quite comfortable with the way medical staff handle their needs. Generally, interventions do not conflict with their spiritual beliefs or their right to make decisions about their health care or for that matter any other aspect of their daily life. However, it should be noted that most western hospitals are based on Christian traditions. Here, Christians rarely come into contact with health care providers who profess a difference of belief. Nevertheless, Christians believe in the eternal life and view death as a rewarding transition into a new existence with God (O’Brien, 2003, p. 274), insisting on spiritual healing where the sick receive prayers on their behalf from religious leaders and receive healing by the hand of God. If healing fails, they accept it as being God’s will.
According to Alberta Health Services (AHS), Christians attend medical facilities voluntarily, without objection to conventional medical treatment (AHS, 2009). In the acute care setting, issues arise concerning diagnosis and medical treatments (i.e., blood transfusions, organ removal or donations, withdraw of life support, etc), requiring the involvement of the patient and family members (AHS, 2009). Moreover, among Christians there is no specific end-of-life rites as they hold on to faith and hope to the last minute. It is vital that the health care provider discuss with patients such issues as whether they want a chaplain to visit and that they abide by their wishes if they decline some aspects of hospital care. Obviously, it is important for the caregivers to uphold Christian values when serving clients of the Christian faith (AHS, 2009).
The Buddhism Perspective
The interviewed Buddhist, Gomin, has a very different...