ST. LOUIS, Feb. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A few years ago, Julie Jones witnessed the respect Mercy employees have for the different backgrounds of others after the unexpected death of a co-worker.
This co-worker was from India and of the Hindu faith. Since his family had few financial resources, co-workers raised money to transport his body back to India for a proper burial. They also held a prayer service with his team members, which included a chant for peace performed by other co-workers of the Hindu faith.
"It was one of those moments where I felt so proud to be part of Mercy because we helped him have a proper burial and our interfaith prayer offered comfort," said Jones, vice president of mission and ministry at Mercy.
As the fifth largest Catholic health care system in the nation serving multiple states, Mercy treats patients and hires employees from diverse backgrounds and religious beliefs. At many of Mercy's facilities, religious texts are available for different religions.
Here are several examples of how Mercy has embraced people from different faith traditions and cultures:
Culturally and religiously sensitive care:
- During Ramadan — a month-long period of strict fasting from sunrise to sunset for Muslims — Mercy dietitians have worked with patients to ensure they respect their traditions while receiving the necessary nutrients.
- Mercy provides advance directives and declination of blood product forms as requested since many Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in accepting blood products.
- A non-denominational Christian woman loved to go to church on Sundays, but was unable to since she was hospitalized and was dying from cancer. Mercy co-workers arranged for her church to come to the hospital and perform a church service.
- Practicing Muslims are required to pray several times per day. Some Mercy facilities have found designated spaces for patients, families and Mercy co-workers to have a private place to pray.
- Many of Mercy's facilities offer battery-operated Shabbat candles, which are lit on Fridays before sunset to welcome in the Jewish Sabbath.
- In one Mercy community, a man of American Indian descent was in the intensive care unit and was dying. The Mercy team arranged to have a medicine man come to the hospital and lead a ceremony with family.
- Mercy has assisted Buddhist families in the ritual cleaning of a patient's body prior to death.
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