The Islamic Council of Victoria yesterday launched the “Caring for Muslim Patients Handbook” in its third edition. Viv Nguyen, Chairperson of the Victorian Multicultural Commission conducted the book launch. Proper care of Muslim patients often arises in rural and regional healthcare centres where this is not a significant migrant and settlement populations. Such publications are important for excellence in health care in both urban and regional/rural centres.
The primary role of a health care professional is focused on the improvement in the access and quality of healthcare for the population. They provide necessary services that promote health, prevent diseases and deliver healthcare services (including diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation) to individuals, families and communities. A healthcare provider, therefore, has to be sensitized about the various cultures, traditions and religions of the community they are providing their services for – what and what not to look out for, in order to achieve an overall effective healthy community.
In Australia, the ICV – Islamic Council of Victoria, seems to have discovered the need to inform the non-Muslim health care providers about some basic Islamic knowledge in order to assist them in achieving the desired results when caring for Muslim patients – hence, the birth of this handbook some 15 years back. The target readers are not just healthcare providers but also community members, from all works of life.
The third edition of this handbook includes three sections including: Guidelines for Health Services-such as the things to look out for and suggestions that could aid healthcare providers regarding care for Muslim patients; Islamic Beliefs Affecting Healthcare – such as the basic knowledge one should possess regarding Islam which would help the healthcare providers in understanding their Muslim patients better; Additional Resources which includes who and where to contact for further information and requests and useful recommendations.
Most of the topics covered under these sections are essential and necessary information that could help solve many issues that could be encountered by health care providers when attending to Muslim patients.
There is no doubt that this handbook will be effective and will be of immense benefit to anyone who picks it up, in turn, leading to a more peaceful coexistence between health care providers, Muslim patients and the members of the Victorian community and beyond.
Islam is a universal religion which is practiced in almost all countries around the world. A follower of Islam is called a Muslim. The increasing cultural, linguistic and religious diversity in the Victorian population means that to be safe, health services need to be culturally appropriate and responsive. Research indicates a strong link between cultural incompetence, poor-quality health outcomes and significant risks.
The material presented here is for the information of all who are concerned with the medical, social and welfare needs of Muslims. A basic understanding of Islam is essential for all health providers dealing with Muslims, to improve care and attendance of patients and to achieve better compliance with medications. This publication deals briefly with those aspects of Islam, which would affect treatment of social, psychological, welfare and medical problems of Muslims.
The information contained in this booklet is of a general nature. The text has been condensed for easier reference. For more information on a particular subject, please contact the Islamic Council of Victoria.
Any questions not addressed in this booklet should be sent to the Islamic Council of Victoria.
As Islam places responsibility on the individual to practice his or her religion, there are personal and cultural variations that make it difficult to provide definitive rules and regulations that apply to all Muslim patients. A Muslim from West Africa may have a slightly different way of observing Islam when compared to a Muslim from Bosnia, Indonesia or Iran. Because of these personal and cultural variations, it is important that health care providers consult the patient about their personal level of religious observance.
However, Muslim patients should not be regarded as a ‘special’ group that requires additional attention from health care providers. Due to the Islamic belief that all events, including health events, are the will of God, Muslim patients may be more likely to display acceptance of difficult circumstances and be compliant with the instructions of health care providers.
Although there are many variations in the practice of Islam by its followers, there is one requirement that is common to all Muslims – the preservation of life overrides all guidelines, rules and restrictions. Health care providers should endeavour to provide treatment that does not conflict with religious practices, however, in life threatening situations, Islam allows exceptions to its rules.
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