Wednesday, 21 April 2010


A patient's religious beliefs can affect his attitudes toward illness and traditional medicine. By trying to accommodate the patient's religious beliefs and practices in your care plan, you can increase his willingness to learn and comply with treatment regimens. Because religious beliefs may vary within particular sects, individual practices may differ from those described here.

Adventist None (baptism of adults only) Alcohol, coffee, tea, narcotics, stimulants; in many groups, meat is also prohibited Communion and baptism performed. Some members believe in divine healing, anointing with oil, and prayer. Some regard Saturday as the Sabbath.

Baptist At birth, none (baptism of believers only); before death, counseling by clergy member and prayer Alcohol; in some groups, coffee and tea is also prohibited Some believe in healing by laying on of hands. Resistance to medical therapy occasionally approved.

Christian Scientist At birth, none; before death, counseling by a Christian Science practitioner Alcohol, coffee, and tobacco prohibited Many members refuse all treatment, including drugs, biopsies, physical examination, and blood transfusions, and permit vaccination only when required by law. Alteration of thoughts is believed to cure illness. Hypnotism and psychotherapy are prohibited. (Christian Scientist nurses and nursing homes honor these beliefs.)

Church of Christ None (baptism at age 8 or older) Alcohol discouraged Communion, anointing with oil, laying on of hands, and counseling by a minister.

Eastern Orthodox At birth, baptism and confirmation; before death, last rites (For members of the Russian Orthodox Church, the arms are crossed after death, the fingers are set in a cross, and the unembalmed body is clothed in natural fiber.) For members of the Russian Orthodox Church and usually the Greek Orthodox Church, no meat or dairy products on Wednesday, Friday, and during Lent Anointing of the sick. For members of the Russian Orthodox Church, cross necklace is replaced immediately after surgery and shaving of male patients is prohibited, except in preparation for surgery. For members of the Greek Orthodox Church, communion and Sacrament of Holy Unction.

Episcopal At birth, baptism; before death, occasional last rites For some members, abstention from meat on Friday, fasting before communion (which may be daily) Communion, prayer, and counseling performed by a minister.

Jehovah's Witnesses None Abstention from foods to which blood has been added Typically, no blood transfusions are permitted; a court order may be required for an emergency transfusion.

Judaism Ritual circumcision on eighth day after birth; burial of dead fetus; ritual washing of dead; burial (including organs and other body tissues) occurs as soon as possible; no autopsy or embalming For Orthodox and Conservative Jews, kosher dietary laws (for example, pork and shellfish are prohibited); for Reform Jews, usually no restrictions Donation or transplantation of organs requires rabbinical consultation. For Orthodox and Conservative Jews, medical procedures may be prohibited on the Sabbath—from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday—and special holidays.

Lutheran Baptism usually performed 6 to 8 weeks after birth None Communion, prayer, and counseling performed by a minister.

Mormon At birth, none (baptism at age 8 or older); before death, baptism, and gospel preaching Alcohol, tobacco, tea, and coffee are prohibited; meat intake is limited Belief in divine healing through the laying on of hands; communion on Sunday; some members may refuse medical treatment. Many wear a special undergarment.

Moslem If spontaneous abortion occurs before 130 days, the fetus is treated as discarded tissue; after 130 days, it's treated as a human being. (Before death, confession of sins with family present; after death, only relatives or friends may touch the body.) Pork is prohibited; daylight fasting during 9th month of Islamic calendar Faith healing for the patient's morale only; conservative members reject medical therapy.

Orthodox Presbyterian Infant baptism; scripture reading and prayer before death None Communion, prayer, and counseling performed by a minister.

Pentecostal Assembly of God, Foursquare Church None (baptism only after age of accountability) Abstention from alcohol, tobacco, meat slaughtered by strangling, any food to which blood has been added and, sometimes, pork Belief in divine healing through prayer, anointing with oil, and laying on of hands.

Roman Catholic Infant baptism, including baptism of an aborted fetus without signs of clinical death (tissue necrosis); before death, anointing of the sick Fasting or abstention from meat on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays during Lent; this practice is usually waived for the hospitalized Burial of major amputated limb (sometimes) in consecrated ground; donation or transplantation of organs allowed if the benefit to recipient outweighs potential harm to donor. Sacraments of the Sick also performed when patients are ill, not just before death. Sometimes performed shortly after admission.

United Methodist None (baptism of children and adults only) None Communion before surgery or similar crisis; donation of body parts encouraged.