In the health care sector there is a notable hurdle when delivering spiritual care needs to consumers. These obstacles occur due to a lack of knowledge and understanding, and place a barrier between both the consumer and the treating team delivering care (Abudari, Hazeim & Ginete, 2016). This difficulty is distinctively prominent for those delivering spiritual care in Western civilizations to individuals with diverse cultural beliefs (Heydari, Khorashadizadeh, Heshmati Nabavi, Mazlom & Ebrahimi, 2016). This essay will explore the Muslim faith and help to create a greater understanding on how consumers that practice this religion wish to be cared for in all aspects of end of life treatment. By gaining a better understanding of an individuals preferred treatment, in context to cultural and religious needs, especially in palliative care setting, it allows for holistic care needs to be met, and shows a respect to the consumer and their families. This allows for the consumer to be actively involved in their care and allows them to approach the end of life with phase with choice and dignity (Abudari, Hazeim & Ginete, 2016). Islamic faith is a broad religion which is commonly seen practiced globally. Predominantly all those who practice Islamic faith are known as Muslim. Islam encourages those who are practising their faith to do so in an individual way that is personal to one’s self, and because of this it is hard to attain a set of principles to follow when caring for Muslim patients, as this is entirely subjective to the individual (Ghobary Bonab, Miner & Proctor, 2013) Because of these personal preferences in regards to culture, it is imperative that the treating team are proactive at the onset of care, and partake in a conversation with the consumer about their religious practices and needs (Abudari, Hazeim & Ginete, 2016).In Islamic faith, a strong connection with Allah brings the individual a sense of wholeness. This relationship interconnects those who share the same cultural beliefs and an integral part of this faith and belief system is to obey and satisfy Allah’s will A practising Muslims individual purpose is to actively pursue to be as connected to Allah as possible, the belief is in doing this, is that it creates a well-rounded individual who is sure of himself, others and understands life as a whole in a deeper meaning (Ghobary Bonab, Miner & Proctor, 2013.The Islamic faith pertains the ideology that all incidences that occur, including incidences of ill health, are at the hand of god and due to his will. This belief system often correlates with most Muslim patients having a greater acceptance of death, and thus making end of life care a normality (Ghobary Bonab, Miner & Proctor, 2013). Similarly, any life enhancing treatments which prolong life in a situation when end of life is inevitable, are disregarded and not encouraged. With this in mind, the Muslim faith allows for any life support to be disengaged, regardless of organ functionality, therefore medical treatment is terminated. Suicide and euthanasia are strongly prohibited also (Ahmad & Khan, 2015).A Muslim individual is expected to visit those who are of ill health. This is not limited to just immediate family, but those that extend far beyond family, thus in turn means that there may be a high volume of visitors for the end of life Muslim. It is important that the treating team discuss this with the individual as it may interfere with the care needing to be provided to both the individual and also other patients (Salman & Zoucha, 2010).Islam places a strong encouragement to respect their elders. It is expected that children or family members of the end of life consumer help with care needs. As a health care provider it is important to be understanding of this belief, and involve family in care where possible (Salman & Zoucha, 2010).Prayer is extremely important to the practising Muslim, and it is expected that the individual prays five times per day. If there is a cognitive impairment present, you are excluded from this expectation (Rassool, 2015). Prayers have to be performed whilst facing Mecca, which is a city in Western Saudi Arabia and is known as the holiest city of Islam (Ghobary Bonab, Miner & Proctor, 2013). Prayers are often done so on a mat, and there are often movements and actions that are performed. In Muslim faith, the end of life consumer is not expected to complete all of these movements. This means that prayer is able to be practiced in the individual’s bed. If the end of life consumer is not bed bound, the care worker could offer a space that is tranquil for the individual to practice, such as a chapel. This will only be accepted if there are no other religious figures present (Ghobary Bonab, Miner & Proctor, 2013).The Muslim consumer is expected to eat a halal diet. This is the food that is agreed upon in Islam. Foods such as pork and any pork by product are not authorized. Alcohol is also not permitted. There is a ritual process that is to be performed to ensure food is Halal, and the consumer will be able to ask for Halal foods in the hospital setting. The team caring for the individual should communicate this. It is preferred that when eating, the right hand should be used as opposed to the left hand. If a member from the treating team is needed to feed the Muslim consumer, the right hand should also be used during this time (Heydari, Khorashadizadeh, Heshmati Nabavi, Mazlom & Ebrahimi, 2016).Personal hygiene is considered extremely important in the Muslim faith. It is expected that a Muslim washes their hands prior and post consuming food, urination and when opening ones bowels. If the consumer is not bed bound, it is preferred that a bowel of water is kept in the toilet to allow for washing. For the consumer that is confined to a bed space, they should be offered transportable hand washing equipment and a container of water (Heydari, Khorashadizadeh, Heshmati Nabavi, Mazlom & Ebrahimi, 2016).When administering medication to an individual of Muslim faith, surprisingly diet can come into play. Some medications that need to be given may contain or have properties that include alcohol or are not halal in nature, and as stated above, this is not an authorized practice in the Muslim culture (Markey, Tilki & Taylor, 2017). It is the responsibility of the nurse or the individual providing care to disclose to the consumer about the ingredients of the mediation that is to be administered, and explain if there is an alternative synthetic option of the medication. This allows the consumer to have informed consent before accepting or declining to take their medication, and displays best practice from the treating team (Abudari, Hazeim & Ginete, 2016). This is also an opportunity for the health care professional to educate others of best practice and explain the importance of respecting an individual’s culture, as there is a potential to unintentionally disrespect a consumer by having ill knowledge on their cultural and spiritual needs (Abudari, Hazeim & Ginete, 2016).Remaining conservative is expected in Islam. Both Muslim males and females may feel uncomfortable about being exposed and may be hesitant to do so in front of individuals they do not know (Heydari, Khorashadizadeh, Heshmati Nabavi, Mazlom & Ebrahimi, 2016). Quite often, Muslim consumers do not feel secure in medical examinations that require health care professionals of the opposite gender to have any physical contact. This should be respected at all times, however in the occurrence where this is not feasible, that being that there are no staff members of the same gender, than the health care provided must show consideration throughout the examination (Heydari, Khorashadizadeh, Heshmati Nabavi, Mazlom & Ebrahimi, 2016).When death occurs to an individual of Muslim faith, there are certain cultural rituals that relatives may want to be performed. This shows a respect to the individual who has passed, and shows respect to their god, Allah (Heydari, Khorashadizadeh, Heshmati Nabavi, Mazlom & Ebrahimi, 2016). When positioning the consumer, family members may expect that they are to be positioned towards Mecca. It is preferred that the body has the least amount of physical contact as possible, and is draped with a sheet that covers the body in entirety (Heydari, Khorashadizadeh, Heshmati Nabavi, Mazlom & Ebrahimi, 2016). This belief stems from the idea that the body still feels sensation after death, and that the soul is with the body until a burial is undertaken (Heydari, Khorashadizadeh, Heshmati Nabavi, Mazlom & Ebrahimi, 2016). To show respect to the Muslim faith and culture, a health care provider of the same sex should be doing these end of life care duties. The body should not be washed, family members prefer to organise cleaning of the body themselves. It is also important to note that no religious or symbolic items should be on the individual (Ahmad & Khan, 2015). The burial is organised almost immediately following death, sometimes the day that the individual passes. However this can prove to be challenging in the occasion where an autopsy is to be performed on the individual, as Islam highly disregards and prohibits disfigurement of the deceased. Due to laws present in Australia, if an autopsy is deemed necessary, this overrides cultural stand points (Ahmad & Khan, 2015). In the unfortunate situation where this occurs, the treating team must respectfully and considerately discuss this with the relatives of the deceased (Abudari, Hazeim & Ginete, 2016). It is encouraged to discuss chaplaincy services to loved ones, and this shows a respect to the Muslim culture (Abudari, Hazeim & Ginete, 2016).The mourning process in Islam permits only three days of grieving to occur for those who are not relatives to the deceased individual. This encourages the members of the community and friends to pay their respects, console the family members and say their goodbyes. After this time however, the family of the deceased are expected to mourn privately (Ahmad & Khan, 2015).Reflection in health care is a pivotal tool in promoting best care to consumers. A way in which this can be done is to ensure that all those involved in caring for consumers from a culturally diverse background have education regarding their needs, and ensure that these needs are met (Abudari, Hazeim & Ginete, 2016). In the workplace this can be done by having in service meetings where individuals from different cultures and religious entities come to speak with health care workers about basic traditions and beliefs that are practised in their culture. This allows for a greater insight and is a way in which multiple staff members can be educated at once. This then promotes open communication between staff members and those from culturally diverse backgrounds to ask questions that they are unsure of (Abudari, Hazeim & Ginete, 2016).When caring for culturally diverse consumers, specifically those of the Muslim faith, it is important to have open communication. It is imperative to have a general understanding of culture and belief systems of your consumer to ensure that best practice is being adhered to. This is a cultural competence that can be continually developed over a health carer’s career; by actively trying to understand differences in culture, or what is important to a consumer and their families, this allows for holistic care to be provided, especially in the end of life setting (Rassool, 2015).
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