The critical role of religion: Caring for the dying patient from an orthodox Jewish perspective

John Loike, Muriel Gillick, Stephan Mayer, Kenneth Prager, Jeremy R. Simon, Avraham Steinberg, Moshe D. Tendler, Mordechai Willig, Ruth L. Fischbach

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background and objective: Culturally competent medical care for the dying patient by families and health care professionals is a challenging task especially when religious values, practices, and beliefs influence treatment decisions for patients at the end of life. This article describes end-of-life guidelines for hospital health care professionals caring for Orthodox Jewish patients and their families. Religious perspectives on advance directives, comfort care and pain control, nutrition and hydration, do not resuscitate/do not intubate (DNR/DNI), and extubation are often unfamiliar to the American medical community. Design: The guidelines for the care of the dying Orthodox Jewish patient were mutually agreed upon by the authors, recognized authorities in medicine, ethics, and Jewish law, who presented their perspectives during a 1-day symposium and who participated in an active working-group session. Conclusions: Care of the religious patient close to death is enormously complex especially when balancing religious obligations, the role of the rabbi, medical procedures, and personal preferences. These guidelines address from a religious perspective profound issues such as the definition of death, organ donation, and caring for the patient at life's end. The guidelines can be useful for any hospital that serves an Orthodox Jewish population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1267-1271
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Palliative Medicine
Volume13
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes

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