Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Health:Hospitals factor lifestyle beliefs and practices into wellness

Some hospitals have come a long way toward realizing how important it is to adapt to the life beliefs of patients, especially the older ones, according to a recent article in Jewish World Review:.
The hospital perks of yesteryear — designer gowns, valet parking, Internet access — stressed luxury and convenience. Today, hospitals have found G-d.

Hospitals are now touting "Shabbat elevators" for observant Jews, "bloodless surgery" for J ehovah's Witnesses and Muslim prayer rooms.

The new services show that hospitals have begun adapting to the religious mosaic of patients — and are increasingly marketing to patients not by disease or age, but by belief.

I say it's about time. Forcing people to violate their beliefs in order to get treatment is a bad idea:

"The last thing you want to worry about while somebody is sick is that they might have to transgress on something they believe in," said Zahava Cohen, Englewood's patient care director.
When Cohen's father was hospitalized years ago in New York, he couldn't get the required food needed for Passover. For the first time in his life, he broke the dietary rules for the holiday. "It was horrible," Cohen said.

By contrast, reassuring them that optimum health is consistent with their beliefs - wherever that view is consistent with reality - is a much sounder strategy for health care, irrespective of the caregiver's own beliefs.

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