Ethnicity Online

Cultural Awareness in Healthcare

Good Practice Guidelines: Hygiene

  • Many people prefer to wash themselves in running water, so showers should be made available where possible. If this is not possible, a basin and a supply of fresh water must be offered.
  • Many faiths require ablutions to be performed before prayer. Some patients may need help with this, and staff should also have access to a suitable area where they can perform their own ablutions.
  • Many ethnic groups will wish to wash their hands and face before and after eating.
  • Some groups prefer to wash with water after using a lavatory rather than using toilet paper, which they consider unhygienic. A small amount of water should be provided for such washing. It is preferable that individual toilet facilities have a water supply that can be used in private. Patients who use a bedpan will also need a basin of water to wash with.
  • Sikhs may need help washing their hair, which must be kept long, uncut, clean and combed free of tangles at all times.