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Caring for the Islamic community in an acute healthcare setting.
Islam as a Religious Belief
The fundamental belief of Muslims is the oneness of God and belief in Muhammad as the last Prophet of God. "Islam" means submission and obedience to the will of God, and aims at achieving peace with self and the surroundings. The Five Pillars of Islam are Declaration of Faith, five daily Prayers, Fasting (for the entire month of Ramadan from dawn to dusk), Charity and Pilgrimage to Makkah.
taken from the International Strategy and Policy Institute guidelines - http://www.ispi-usa.org/guidelines.htm
Basic care needs
Whilst in a primary healthcare setting Muslim patients should be provided with Halal (similar to Kosher) meals. Pork, ham, lard, bacon, and alcohol are strictly prohibited and should be avoided. If Halal meals are not available, Jewish Kosher meals or vegetarian meals are acceptable. Patients should also be allowed to bring food from home if there are no dietary restrictions.
Basic Care Needs cont
Fasting is done once a year (from dawn to dusk) during the month of Ramadan. In general, fasting is exempt in illness and pregnancy.
Meals should be made available to Muslim patients should they ask. During Ramadan meals should be prepared before dawn and after sunset.
During Ramadan Muslims are not allowed to take anything into their bodies including injections, suppositories or medication. This can complicate issues such as pain relief.
Support should be given to patients and families during this time
Basic care needs cont.
Hygiene is a very important part of Islamic culture.
Washing with water after urination and defecation is an important method of keeping the patient clean and pure – a source of water should always be made available to patients after urination or defecation.
In Sunni Islam it is preferable for the removal of hair below the naval, under the arms and the trimming of the nails. It is meant to be removed after a maximum of 15 days.
Basic care needs cont
Islamic patients may be shy and embarrassed about showing their bodies to any health care professionals.
Some Muslim women may insist on being covered at all times, except for hands, feet and face. When medical examinations are being carried out, health care professionals should be respectful of this. Hospital gowns should have long sleeves and if such clothing is not available, then the patients should be able to wear their own gowns.
Where possible, especially if the patient asks, Muslim patients should be examined by those of the same sex. If not possible a chaperone may be present for the examination of a female patient, should they enquire.
Death and Dying
Islam does not require treatment to be provided for patients if it is merely prolonging the final stages of a terminal illness
Muslims believe that life after death is merely a stage in God’s overall plan for humanity and rather a temporary separation from God.
Once a patient has died, ideally only Muslims wound touch them, or disposable gloves would be worn. Where possible, the eyes should be closed, limbs straightened and the head facing East so that they may be buried facing Meccah
Death and Dying cont
The body is faced in a plain sheet and remain unwashed
The body is taken to a mosque and then washed by members of the community of the same sex.
Muslims are always buried, not cremated, and when possible, within 24 hours. Coroners should always be notified if a patient is a Muslim so any post-mortem work can be carried out as quickly as possible. Post mortems must only be carried out by order of the coroner.
Key Issues cont
A prayer room may be provided in health care settings that is multi-cultural. It should be clean, quiet and carpeted.
Discuss with patients the availability of an Imam or a community leader which may serve as a source of comfort
Rituals are very important to the Islamic community especially following death and hygiene
Muslims believe that a persons body belongs to God and therefore nothing should be cut away, harmed or donated.
Devout Muslims will not agree to organ donation or transplants.
Muslims do not normally have a marked grave or a coffin but as British law requires this, families may require extra support during discussions with undertakers.
Resources we may need
http://www.ispi-usa.org/guidelines.htm should be avoided. If Halal meals are not available, Jewish Kosher meals or vegetarian meals are acceptable. Patients should also be allowed to bring food from home if there are no dietary restrictions.
Muslims believe that a persons body belongs to Go