Cultural Care

 

Cultural Care is defined as nursing actions to support the values, beliefs and traditions of the patient and family. Assessment is focused on traditional beliefs related to health, illness and healing including a belief in the evil eye or jinn causing the patient’s illness. Use of traditional healing methods such as herbs, traditional medicines, oil, and honey should be assessed, as some traditional methods may be harmful to the patient condition, or be substituted by the patient and family for bio-medical curing methods. Skin assessment is needed to identify the use of hejama or cutaneous cautery healing practices.

Caring actions are directed at assisting the family if there is a belief that illness has been caused by the evil eye or jinn. Nurses may need to accommodate family requests for a religious healer for treating either the evil eye or jinn, or to change the patient’s room if it is believed a jinni is present in the room.

 

The family may request the nurse to accommodate use of traditional methods in the care of the patient, such as wiping or massaging the patient with olive oil, and use of honey in treating wounds. Assessment for potential risk to the patient in using traditional methods is needed, and health education may be needed to prevent use of harmful substances. Commercially prepared honey impregnated dressing are available to substitute when a family requests the application of honey for wound healing.

Protection of modesty is a fundamental cultural caring action. Actions to protect the modesty of the patient include segregation of waiting rooms and clinics, protection of the female patient in any potential interaction with a male, ensuring the ‘aura’ of a patient is covered at all times.

 

An assessment of patient and family expectations for gender specific caring is important, to be able to match expectations with care delivery. Depending on expectations, care may need to be planned around same-gender care givers if available, or the care plan altered if unable to meet the need for same-gender caregivers.

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