Caring for Muslim Patients Handbook – 4th Edition

Islamic Centre of VictoriaThe Islamic Council of Victoria announces the release of the fourth edition of their handbook Caring for Muslim Patients. This handbook for healthcare professionals and providers covers information on hospital chaplaincy for Muslim patients, guidelines on caring for Muslim patients, and an outline of the Islamic approach to palliative care and end-of-life challenges.


The primary role of healthcare professionals is improving the access and quality of healthcare for the community. They provide essential services that promote health, prevent disease, and deliver healthcare services, including diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation, to individuals, families, and communities. Therefore, healthcare providers should be sensitive to the various cultures, traditions, and religions of the communities they serve.

In Victoria, the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) recognizes the need to inform non-Muslim healthcare providers about basic Islamic knowledge relevant to their service, leading to the creation of this handbook in 1998.

The handbook is designed not only for healthcare providers but also for the Muslim and non-Muslim community. The fourth edition of this handbook provides updated statistical data and deeper guidance on End-of-Life Issues, such as treatment withdrawal and palliative care, and Islamic chaplaincy.

This handbook comprises three sections:

  • Guidelines for Health Services, which provide suggestions and things to look out for while caring for Muslim patients.
  • Islamic Beliefs, which offer basic knowledge about Islam to help healthcare providers understand their Muslim patients better.
  • Updated Additional Resources, including contacts for further information and recommendations.

Most of the topics covered in each section provide essential information that could help resolve many issues healthcare providers may encounter while attending to Muslim patients.

This handbook will undoubtedly be effective and immensely beneficial to anyone who uses it, leading to more peaceful coexistence between healthcare providers, Muslim patients, and members of the Victorian community and beyond.

Overview:

Islam is a universal religion which is practiced in almost all countries around the world. A follower of Islam is called a Muslim. The increasing cultural, linguistic and religious diversity in the Victorian population means that to be safe, health services need to be culturally appropriate and responsive. Research indicates a strong link between cultural incompetence, poor-quality health outcomes and significant risks.

The material presented here is for the information of all who are concerned with the medical, social and welfare needs of Muslims. A basic understanding of Islam is essential for all health providers dealing with Muslims, to improve care and attendance of patients and to achieve better compliance with medications. This publication deals briefly with those aspects of Islam, which would affect treatment of social, psychological, welfare and medical problems of Muslims.

The information contained in this booklet is of a general nature. The text has been condensed for easier reference. For more information on a particular subject, please contact the Islamic Council of Victoria.

Any questions not addressed in this booklet should be sent to the Islamic Council of Victoria.

As Islam places responsibility on the individual to practice his or her religion, there are personal and cultural variations that make it difficult to provide definitive rules and regulations that apply to all Muslim patients. A Muslim from West Africa may have a slightly different way of observing Islam when compared to a Muslim from Bosnia, Indonesia or Iran. Because of these personal and cultural variations, it is important that health care providers consult the patient about their personal level of religious observance.

However, Muslim patients should not be regarded as a ‘special’ group that requires additional attention from health care providers. Due to the Islamic belief that all events, including health events, are the will of God, Muslim patients may be more likely to display acceptance of difficult circumstances and be compliant with the instructions of health care providers.

Although there are many variations in the practice of Islam by its followers, there is one requirement that is common to all Muslims – the preservation of life overrides all guidelines, rules and restrictions. Health care providers should endeavour to provide treatment that does not conflict with religious practices, however, in life threatening situations, Islam allows exceptions to its rules.

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Caring for Muslim Patients - 4th Edition

 


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