Building a relationship with each patient you treat will help you understand their beliefs and views and could provide insight into why they react in certain ways. Communication between doctors and patients and between healthcare staff should attend sensitively to the welfare benefits of religion, belief and culture. Cultural awareness and sensitivity is vital to effective healthcare provision. It’s about understanding the mindset of a patient within a larger context of culture, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and socioeconomic realities. Trust and Respect. 2009 Dec;62(12):754-5. Religion, belief and culture should be recognized as potential sources of moral purpose and personal strength in healthcare, enhancing the welfare of both clinicians and patients amidst the experience of ill-health, healing, suffering and dying. The diversity of religion around the world creates challenges for health care providers and systems to provide culturally competent medical care. Image via Flickr by Ted Van Pelt. Without your patient’s trust, you will not be able to get very far in helping to develop and implement treatment programs. Pflege Z. Cultural competence is the ability of health providers and organizations to deliver health care services that meet the cultural, social, and religious needs of patients and their families. When a homogenous workforce is tasked with caring for an extremely diverse array of patients, the quality of care can suffer. The Role of Spirituality in Nursing Besides knowing your patients' cultural and religious beliefs, you need to understand the rationales supporting those beliefs because they can impact your patients' care plan. caring for patients from a variety of different religious and cultural backgrounds. In modern Western culture, respect for autonomy has become the “first” principle “among equals.” A person has the right to make his or her own decisions about medical treatment. Blackpool tends to have few patients from ethnic minority groups, so staff may not be routinely aware of their needs. 1. Treating the patient as an individual is important because of differences such as religion, culture, gender, education, socioeconomic status, and family traditions. This principle is often expressed as respect for persons. Move up to the next level of personal care and ensure you are not only addressing your clients physical needs but their cultural, religious and spiritual needs as well. Nurses need to appreciate and respect the patient as an individual. [From case to case: respecting the cultural and religious needs of patients]. Problems can arise when clinicians make assumptions about patients' religious beliefs based on their appearance, language, or cultural background, notes Danish Zaidi, who holds a master's degree in theological studies and bioethics and is in his last year of medical school at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. And, of course, patients are persons, complete with values, some of which are faith based. [Article in German] Messer M(1). A patient’s request for prayer can reflect religious distress, anxiety about her … Diversity in health care goes far beyond a language barrier. ” Over the past 20 years, physicians have shifted from viewing a patient’s request for prayer as a violation of professional boundaries to a question deserving nuanced understanding of the patient’s needs and the clinician’s boundaries. The challenge for care staff in a communal care environment is to recognise and respect that this is a normal activity for that individual, while looking after the needs of others who might find that behaviour anti-social. Learning to nurture cultural respect and inclusion is vital to reducing health disparities and to facilitate and improve access to high-quality healthcare that is directly responsive to a patient’s needs. 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