The culture that I have chosen to write about for this paper is the culture of India. It can be both a demographic culture and a spiritual culture, depending on the particular beliefs of the client. The people of India have multiple beliefs about health. India has both conventional and traditional beliefs about medicine and illness. Food and religion are giant factors when it comes to certain Hindu people, depending on his/her personal beliefs. People from Indian culture hold the preparation of food and the food itself in very high esteem. An exercise of Indian culture that is widely accepted includes only eating certain types of foods, not eating certain foods during illness or not eating any food at all according to the type of illness contracted. This practice is called “apathyam and pathyam” (in Sanskrit). It has also been said that if this practice is followed correctly than the majority of diseases and illnesses can go without being treated by medicine. Religion is also a major part of the culture in India when it pertains to disease and caring for illness.
The majority of the people living in India practice Hinduism. According to most Indian religions, the people believe that it is vital to bathe regularly under running water. This can be problematic for patients that are confined to the bed or that have urinary catheters or colostomy bags because he or she may feel “unclean” and in some cases believe that he/she is unworthy to pray. Vegetarianism, meditation or prayer, and karma are other facets of Hinduism that might affect one’s beliefs about illness and seeking care or illness. Each caretaker for a person of Indian culture or someone that practices Hinduism must be aware of the practices and traditions concerned with both and must be willing to provide sensitive care accordingly. This can majorly affect whether or not an individual will choose to seek care. If a client thinks that their caretaker will not be willing to assist him/ her according to their cultural or religious beliefs, the client may chose not to seek care at all, which could negatively benefit them. The main concern would be to let the client know that you are willing to abide by and care for them in accordance to the client’s beliefs. If the caretaker is unaware of some of the stipulations, the caretaker should be unafraid to ask. Most times the client will be happy to help give you the knowledge you may need to care for him/her. As a caregiver for a person of Indian culture or who has a strong Hindu belief system I would be interested to know the details of “apathyam and pathyam” so that I could respectfully assist them with the clients diet if he/she becomes ill. I would also assist them in any way I could with bathing so that the client could feel like he/she is “clean” enough to practice prayer or meditation freely. Knowledge about client’s personal beliefs is vitally important to the extremely personal role a caregiver could play in a client’s life.