London: Britain has drawn up the first guide to help health professionals provide care to Hindu patients according to their values and practices.
The guide, to be launched at the House of Commons on Tuesday, 9 December, by health secretary Alan Johnson and the Hindu Forum of Britain, is titled Caring for Hindu Patients.
The guide seeks to enhance practitioners’ awareness of issues pertinent to the care of Hindus and to provide insight into how services may be provided sensitively, with respect for Hindu values, practices and world views.
The publication is edited by doctors Diviash Thakrar, Rasamandala Das and Aziz Sheikh and has been endorsed by national Hindu organizations, including the Hindu Forum of Britain.
With a brief and cohesive overview of Hinduism and a short examination of the populations demographic diversity, the book explores issues such as language, dress, diet and festivals with emphasis on their practical relevance to health care professionals.
Considering the health needs of Hindu patients at various life stages, the book focuses on birth and childhood, and adult issues related to marriage, family structure, contraception, abortion, infertility and adoption.
It also enhances the readers understanding of Hindu approaches to death, to help medical and nursing staff offer care while being sensitive to the needs of Hindu patients.
Arjan Vekaria, treasurer of the Hindu Forum of Britain, said, “Hindus form a significant proportion of society today, and health care professionals in all settings and locations need an awareness of their beliefs and cultural expectations, to communicate effectively and provide care in an appropriate manner.” This book provided such information in a concise and practical form, he added.
Sam Everington, former deputy chair, British Medical Association, said: “This book will help us diagnose and care for Hindu patients but goes beyond this on a journey that makes us far better health carers. It teaches us to speak the language of all our patients.”