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Information On Different Faiths

A Guide for Hospital Staff to Improve Patient Care

The publication 'Your guide to the NHS - Getting the most from your National Health Service', (Section 5) states:

"NHS staff will respect your privacy and dignity. They will be sensitive to, and respect, your religious, spiritual and cultural needs at all times." (Department of Health 2001).

The Patients' Charter Standard 1 (DOH 1991) stated that privacy, dignity and religious beliefs have to be respected. This statement has led the way towards improving the quality of services for many people who believe and consciously practice their faith. Many health care providers have developed their own local standards which reflect the needs of the population they serve.

Many people when in hospital and facing long term illness or death turn to their faith for guidance even though they may not be currently practising that faith. It is, therefore, essential for staff to be aware of how best they can facilitate this process. The ability to be more understanding and sympathetic creates an atmosphere of good mental health which is as important for a patient as is the medical intervention.

This Faith Requirements Information is provided as a guide to some of the requirements that patients may have whilst in hospital. Not all patients have the same level of religious observance. It is, therefore, of paramount importance not to make assumptions about a patient who comes from a specific religious background that they will be practising in their faith.