A Hospital Handbook on Multiculturalism & Religion, Revised Edition available in Paperback
- Pub. Date:
- Church Publishing, Incorporated
In our religiously pluralistic society, clergy, medical, and nursing staffs in modern hospitals are confronted with caring for people with varied beliefs and customs. Since the overall care of a patient, and not just the surgeries performed or medicines given, affect an individual's recovery, it is vitally important to be familiar with cultural and religious understandings and expectations around hygiene, pastoral care, autopsies, transfusions, and even the practices associated with death itself.
AHospital Handbook for Multiculturalism and Religion is a succinct guide to the care of patients from a variety of faiths. The original version included Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Baha'i. In the revised edition Neville Kirkwood has added chapters on Taoism, Confucianism, Neo-Confucianism, Chinese Buddhism, and Jainism. Each chapter examines not only the customs of adherents to various faith perspectives but also the significance of certain rites and attitudes, supplying health-care workers and chaplains with the information they need to provide the best care possible.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
As a hospital chaplain, I have found the book to be helpful in providing a very basic overview of some of the major cultural customs and beliefs regarding health and illness. Kirkwood, a protestant Christian chaplain, touches on the surface of some of the major facets of a broad sampling of religions and what they believe about health and illness. My main criticism of the book is that it does not give a thorough, or entirely accurate portrayal of all the different religious cultures that Kirkwood claims to address. There is such a plurality of beliefs and customs- even within one faith tradition, that a book of this scope is grossly inadequate, even for lay readers. You will find in Kirkwood's book some basic, very general guidelines- for instance general dietary concerns, attitudes towards autopsies and transfusions,etc. My greatest fear with this book is that healthcare professionals- or even chaplains will pick it up or another book like it and after reading it think that they know what a patient or family member would want based on what religious background they are affiliated with. Your best resource for understanding a patient or family member's needs- religious or otherwise is still to ask them. The best way to understand another person's cultural beliefs is to allow them to educate us. Each individual's practices are unique- even within their faith and cultural traditions. Anton Boisen, the pioneer of modern Clinical Pastoral Education, once said that we are all "living human documents." In other words, general cultural knowledge is well and good, but it can never relieve us, as caring professionals of the responsibility to properly inform, and learn the needs of those whom we serve- namely patients and family members. Ask them what their needs are, inform them properly, and give them the autonomy and respect they deserve.
This pocket-sized book gives the essence of what you need to know about diet restrictions, hygiene requirements, modesty issues and basic etiquette for helping members of the main religions and cultures of the world. It will save you some headache, and help you avoid insulting unintentionally. As a Chaplain, I give a copy to the Hospital Corpsman of any unit that is deploying. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!