Ethnicity Online

Cultural Awareness in Healthcare

Hindu Summary

In a hurry? Here are our top tips for making Hindu patients and staff feel cared for according to their cultural needs.

patients

  • Most Hindus are vegetarian and will not eat meat (especially beef and pork), so offer patients a vegetarian menu. As well as meat, some Hindus may not eat fish and eggs, and anything made from or containing them.
  • If possible, avoid medication that contains animal products.
  • Many Hindus follow the traditional Hindu system of medicine known as ayurveda, which treats imbalances in the body with diet, exercise and meditation as well as herbal remedies.
  • Hindu patients are likely to wish to pray while they are in hospital, so offer them some privacy to do so. They may also need help to wash in preparation for their prayers.
  • Hindu patients will probably be visited by many relatives (especially on festival days); the visitors may bring in prashad (food that has been blessed) for their sick relative.
  • Older family members may make decisions about their relative's medical treatment.

staff

  • As for patients, make sure a vegetarian menu is available for Hindu staff.
  • Some Hindu staff may strongly object to any involvement in the termination of pregnancies, because it causes harm to a living thing and therefore goes against the Hindu doctrine of ahinsa.
  • Staff may wish to take time off work on important Hindu festival days to celebrate with their family and friends.