JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Cultural competencies in emergency medicine: caring for Muslim-American patients from the Middle East

Ugo A Ezenkwele, Gholamreza S Roodsari
Journal of Emergency Medicine 2013, 45 (2): 168-74
23478182

BACKGROUND: Cultural competency is crucial to the delivery of optimal medical care. In Emergency Medicine, overcoming cultural barriers is even more important because patients might use the Emergency Department (ED) as their first choice for health care. At least 2.2 million Muslims from Middle Eastern background live in the United States.

OBJECTIVE: We wanted to create a succinct guideline for Emergency care providers to overcome cultural barriers in delivering care for this unique population.

METHOD: A compensative search on medical and health databases was performed and all the articles related to providing healthcare for Muslim-Americans were reviewed.

RESULT: The important cultural factors that impact Emergency care delivery to this population include norms of modesty; gender role; the concept of God's will and its role in health, family structure, prohibition of premarital and extramarital sex; Islamic rituals of praying and fasting; Islamic dietary codes; and rules related to religious cleanliness.

CONCLUSIONS: The Muslim-American community is a fast-growing, under-studied population. Cultural awareness is essential for optimal delivery of health care to this minority. We have created a succinct guideline that can be used by Emergency Care providers to overcome cultural barriers. However, it is important to consider the heterogeneity and diversity of this population and to use this guideline on an individual basis.

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