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Religious Groups Health Care: Home

This guide seeks to inform students and healthcare workers on the differing health care wishes/guidance of specific religious groups, and the ethics of respecting their wishes.

Religious Symbols

Image created by American University.

From left to right: Hinduism Om, Judaic Menorah, Wheel of Dharma, Christian Cross, Islamic Crescent Moon and Star, Sikhism Khanda, Unitarian Flaming Chalice, and Baha'i 9-Pointed Star

Welcome to the Religious Groups Health Care Guide!

This guide was created to inform future health care professionals about the diversity of needs from different religious and spiritual communities. Some have beliefs that greatly impact the nature of care they receive, such as not accepting blood transfusions or medications of any kind. It is therefore important to be aware and mindful of the ways humans differ from each other, and to treat everyone with dignity and respect while providing the best care possible.

The guide covers a sampling of major religions and spiritual beliefs, as they apply to Chicago, Illinois, and the broader United States. It will be updated regularly, and new sections may be added to cover more religions as needed.

This guide is meant to serve as an introduction to the spectrum that is religion, and should not be used as medical advice in any way. Always refer to your hospital or health care institution's guidelines for treating patients of differing religious beliefs first.

We hope you find this guide useful!

-The Oak Point Library Team


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Religion and Spirituality in Health Care

"Patient spirituality continues to be an area that clinicians do not discuss as often as they should...Acknowledging the moral underpinnings (spiritual or religious) that drive certain care-seeking behaviorsfrom end-of-life care to contraceptionis critical in achieving a more holistic medical practice. Moreover, awareness of our patients’ spiritual or religious beliefs helps us to be more aware of our own motivations, as spirituality and religion are important components that shape behaviors of many clinicians."

(Danish Zaidi, "Influences of Religion and Spirituality in Medicine," AMA Journal of Ethics, July 2018)

Religious Pie Chart