Ethnicity Online

Cultural Awareness in Healthcare

Jews: Physical Examinations

When making a physical examination of a Jewish patient, the group that they belong to will make a difference to the approach to be taken. Generally, Reform and Liberal/Progressive Jews will have no issues here beyond common concerns about exposure and privacy, whereas Orthodox Jews may have specific issues that need to be addressed.

Don't forget to add the patient's preferences to their case notes for future reference.

modesty and privacy

For the older generations and more Orthodox Jews, exposing one's body is usually done only in the privacy of the home and to a spouse. Women will probably wish to keep their arms and legs above the knee covered at all times, or expose only those parts of their body that are to be examined. Both genders may wish to keep their hair covered; if the examination is to include the head, then discuss the removal of head coverings sensitively, and where appropriate offer an alternative (a theatre cap, for example).

examination by same gender

Most Jews will have few specific problems about being treated by a member of staff of the opposite gender. Obviously, individuals may differ in this, but Reform and Liberal Jews do not specify that same-gender healthcare staff should carry out examinations.

For Orthodox patients, wherever possible the examiner ought to be of the same gender as the patient. However, if the only person available to do an examination is of the opposite gender, this is acceptable as a last resort.



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