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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 693092, 8 pages
Review Article

Reflections on Palliative Care from the Jewish and Islamic Tradition

1Division of Oncology, Rambam Health Care Campus, Faculty of Medicine, Technion Israel Institute of Technology, P.O. Box 9602, Haifa 31096, Israel
2Al-Taj for Health and Heritage Organization, Arraba 30812, Israel

Received 21 September 2011; Accepted 24 October 2011

Academic Editor: Peter Heusser

Copyright © 2012 Michael Schultz et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Spiritual care is a vital part of holistic patient care. Awareness of common patient beliefs will facilitate discussions about spirituality. Such conversations are inherently good for the patient, deepen the caring staff-patient-family relationship, and enhance understanding of how beliefs influence care decisions. All healthcare providers are likely to encounter Muslim patients, yet many lack basic knowledge of the Muslim faith and of the applications of Islamic teachings to palliative care. Similarly, some of the concepts underlying positive Jewish approaches to palliative care are not well known. We outline Jewish and Islamic attitudes toward suffering, treatment, and the end of life. We discuss our religions' approaches to treatments deemed unnecessary by medical staff, and consider some of the cultural reasons that patients and family members might object to palliative care, concluding with specific suggestions for the medical team.