World Religion and Healthcare
Grand Canyon University
Spirituality in Health Care
May 23, 2014
The goal of this paper is to educate healthcare providers on a few of the basic needs of patient’s practicing Hinduism, Shintoism, and Native American cultures. A theme develops as one expands their worldview and becomes competent at creating an open dialogue with patients. Learning to have respectful conversations regarding spiritual needs will prove fulfilling for the provider and patient. Once one understands needs and barriers to care we are able to provide a spiritual and holistic experience. Exploring spiritual needs such as prayer and ...view middle of the document...
Being aware of these differences allows a Christian healthcare worker to provide care with the best possible results for the patient.
The first general difference between western Christian based and Hindu based medicine is that Hindus practice a holistic style of medicine called Ayruveda. Ayruveda means “knowledge of life” and its primary focus is the prevention of disease whereas western Christian medicine is primarily focused on the treatment of disease. Another difference is that Ayruveda not only looks at the patient but also the patient’s surroundings for causes of disease that is caused by an imbalance between three forces called dosha. The three dosha represent the elements of space, air, fire, water, and earth (Bhungalia, Kelly, Van De Keift, & Young, n.d.).
There are also several patient specific differences that a Christian healthcare provider might not be aware of when caring for a patient that practices Hinduism. One example is genders play an important role in Hinduism and it would be very inappropriate for a healthcare provider of the opposite sex to examine a Hindu patient ("Healthcare Provider’s Handbook," 2013). Another difference is most Hindus are strictly vegetarians and will not knowingly consume anything, including medications, which contains or are derived from animals ("Healthcare Provider’s Handbook," 2013). Many Hindus might also want to try one of their traditional remedies in combination to the care they are receiving to achieve what they believe is a balance between forces. It is important for the healthcare provider to make room for prayer and meditation as these are critical to the holistic care of a Hindu patient (Bhagwan, 2012). These differences, when compared to a Christian’s perspective of healthcare, can cause the provider able to fully achieve a Hindu patient’s spiritual needs that they believe are an important path to health and wellbeing.
From the Christian perspective assessment and treatment of a patient from the Japanese Shinto religion should not prove difficult. Shintoism welcomes people from many religious backgrounds and faiths. Shinto is more of a way of life versus a traditional religion. Most apparent is the importance of maintaining good health, economic success, and strong family units. Emphasis is placed on purity and cleanliness and anything less is considered shameful. The concept of hazukashii (shame) is linked to many aspects in life (Blanch, n.d.).
While assessing a patient with a Shinto background it will be imperative to be extremely courteous and thoughtful. The Japanese culture tends to be indirect in nature and may become offended with direct or blunt statements. An empathetic approach and the use of the blameless apology will generate the best response. It will be important to remember that sensitive discussions regarding end-of life care, informed consent for surgical procedures, and advanced directives will be met with difficulty. Death will be...