• Gaynor Lowndes

Respecting Clients Spiritual Beliefs


Religious beliefs and Culture

Your work with clients from other cultures can be very interesting. It can also be very challenging on occasion when their beliefs and attitudes are very different from your own. Individual differences, cultures, values and beliefs affect your everyday living. We may not even be


aware of these differences. Sometimes we base our expectations of others on our own experiences and beliefs. Some clients are noticeably religious, and this can be a double edged sword for a support worker.  If you are religious and share the same views as your client, then you could likely bond over your beliefs and that may lead to deeper care. 

However we may need to be sensitive  to some people who don’t have a religion. You may want to pray for someone, but that could be seen as offensive if the person is a  atheist.  They may feel you are pushing religion on them when they don’t want it

Clients may bring cultural, religious and other beliefs with them as they enter into a relationship with the care giver. Occasionally, these beliefs may challenge or conflict with what the care giver believes to be good medical care.

Religious beliefs and our rights

Every one of us has our own beliefs and practices depending on where we came from and how we were raised by our family. All of us have the right to practice what we believe in and we all have the right to be respected by others no matter where we came from and how we represent ourselves. The most important thing is we behave professionally and respect others. 


Spirituality

Many people see spirituality as a great way of seeking peace in their life. A lot of religions have changed their systems of beliefs over time and under the influence of cultures into which they have spread.

If ever the client wants to talk about God and religion, you should feel free to share yourself.  You should not be ashamed if you feel appropriate.  Your beliefs should have no impact on how you care for a client.  Everyone deserves to have equal care and to be free of religious description.


In work environment

You may have very strong views on religion, others  not so.  It may be such a part of who you are that you cannot help but bring it to your profession.  That’s fine, as long as you still do your job well, especially in the community services sector. The client deserves to be cared for whatever your religious beliefs are. 

You may not like their religion.  You may not understand it, but everyone has the freedom to hold their beliefs.  If your client needs special dietary considerations or cannot have a support worker who is male, then those beliefs need to be respected.  Support workers and hospitals need to make proper accommodation for the many ranges of religious beliefs that you encounter.


Why is it important to respect the beliefs of the client?

Respecting the beliefs and values of your client is an important part of establishing an effective relationship between the care giver and the client. Failure to take those beliefs seriously can undermine the client's ability to trust you as her/his care giver.


Attitude towards client’s religion

A cultural frame of reference is the way people from the same cultural group see their world; it is their world view. Beliefs and attitudes are extremely important and personal. Values are formed and absorbed by people as they develop through childhood. Customary ways of behaving and responding to situations can vary considerably from one society to another. - be respectful of cultural practices, attitudes and beliefsshow consideration ( think of the needs of others from their point of view)

- be polite (use the preferred title and the appropriate tone of voice, listen to others address each other)

- show genuine interest

- Respect a person’s right to privacy and confidentiality.


When addressing a person from another culture, you may need to consider:

- different ways of speaking or titles that may be preferred

- male and female roles clearly defined along cultural boundaries

- different speech patterns / languagecodes of behavior

- clothinggender-specific tasks to completenon-verbal communication and body language ( eye contact, use of touching )

- Use of physical space.

Reference  - http://etraining.communitydoor.org.au/mod/page/view.php?id=178


Understanding Client's Values and Beliefs ​- All clients perceive events uniquely and in keeping with their individualized needs and past experiences.

- All clients participate in care that is respectful and non-judgmental.

- Crisis intervention utilizes a client centred approach that takes into consideration the client’s unique rights, feelings, values, perceptions and wishes Client centred care, involving support workers’ reflection and empathy is most effective in resolving crises Psychic energy or ego strength is variable among individuals and is influenced by past experiences and social support.

- All clients and families are actively involved in collaboration and decision-making regarding their care.

- Stress is a normal part of existence and can foster self-development and growth.All clients are capable of assuming personal responsibility for their health, regardless of their unique abilities and challenges.

- All clients grow and change in an environment of acceptance, trust and empathic understanding.

- Sustained client change occurs when clients feel ready and supported to do so and not necessarily when the system expects it.

- All human beings have a need for self-mastery and control over their lives.Support workers believe in an individual’s ongoing capacity for self-determination and growth and in their own abilities to foster this process with clients.

Reference  -  http://pda.rnao.ca/content/understanding-clients-values-and-belief

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