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Cultural Diversity

When people are facing major difficulties such as physical illness, dependency and possible death, cultural beliefs and ways of reacting to illness are very important. It becomes a time when emotional, practical and spiritual care must be taken into account and cultural needs met.

Culture can be defined as how we do and view things in our own community or group. It is a shared set of values, assumptions, language, perceptions and conventions, which enable a group or community to function together. Our culture affects every aspect of our daily life, how we think and behave and the decisions we make.

Health care is likely to be more effective when the beliefs, values and norms of both patient and professional are recognised and taken into account.

In understanding different religions there are many different practices and beliefs, which may affect the patient’s needs during illness and surgery. Some religions provide detailed rules, which may cover all aspects of daily life, whilst others have certain beliefs and requirements.

Having a stoma may cause anxiety regarding religious or cultural requirements and the stoma care nurse will discuss with the patient pre-operatively about any specific needs that may arise. For some patient's the activity of prayer may cause problems with stoma appliances. If the stoma care nurse is aware of the patient's requirements for prayer a suitable, secure appliance will be found. Many patient's from ethnic minorities are required to go on pilgrimage and the patient's will have worries in travelling with a stoma and keeping appliances clean and safe. Discussion pre-operatively with the stoma care nurse and patient will help to allay these fears and anxieties and help the patient to continue their religious and cultural requirements.

Religious rituals can have important spiritual, social, and emotional significance and can strengthen bonds between members of the group. Most can be accommodated in hospital and other institutions.

On this web site the five main religions that have been included are:


By using the links you can go into the appropriate religion to see how having a stoma may affect you.

Support groups

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