BloodPressureHeartMeds.Net

Faith influences health behaviors of American Muslim patients

July 08, 2017

These views were accompanied by a holistic view of healing involving a combination of spiritual and medical agents. The health care role of imams, the spiritual leaders of the Muslim community, was frequently discussed.

"God also says to take care of your body and that means you have to go to people in this world," Padela said. "Doctors are a part of that, but only a part. Imams play a big role in healing, in the sense that they help you understand disease and illness."

Though imams are often consulted by patients for advice during illness, Muslim chaplains are a rarity in the American health care system. Improving communication between hospitals and community imams would help Muslim patients address spiritual concerns during times of serious illness and educate imams on how to counsel their patients on medical issues, Padela said.

Other recommendations in the report for health care institutions included cultural sensitivity training for staff, providing halal food and prayer space for Muslim inpatients, and building partnerships with mosques to create health awareness campaigns targeting the community.

"In this community in Michigan, Muslims aren't a new group, they've been there for a long time," Padela said. "There is an undercurrent of 'we've been there and asked for these things, but the onus is always on us. They don't come meet with us.' ""If hospitals go to the community and have that mutual learning process, it will help the community and help the patients at the bedside," Padela said.

"Meeting the Healthcare Needs of American Muslims" was published in June by the Institute for Social Policy & Understanding, located in Washington, DC.

Source University of Chicago