Chair Files

Religious Diversity in Health Care

Patients may be Christian, Jew, Muslim or of any other religious expression—at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, their spiritual needs will be met. At the 468-bed acute care hospital, part of Lutheran HealthCare, Shabbos elevators operate from sundown Friday until sundown Saturday (and on religious holidays) and Friday prayer services are held in the hospital’s mosque; Protestant Ecumenical and Roman Catholic Eucharist services are held on Sundays. Patients can order halal and kosher meals and request the services of a chaplain, imam, priest or rabbi. According to Virginia Tong, vice president, cultural competence, the health care organization aimed “to improve access and quality of care for those of different faith, cultural and linguistic preferences,” and partnered with the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding in New York City to assess its religio-cultural competency. Conducted from 2006–2008, the assessment included focus groups and one-on-one interviews; reviews of curriculum, documents, policies and procedures; analyses of employee and patient populations; and training observations. The health care organization now has several cultural advisory committees and community liaisons, offers cultural competence training for new employees and residents, and provides signage and forms translated into five different languages for patients. As part of intake at admission, patients are asked about their spiritual beliefs, practices and needs. Research indicates that patients who experience spiritual care in the hospital are much more likely to rate their overall satisfaction as “high.”

For more information, contact Tong at Click on “HPOE Webinars” to download presentation slides from a recent HPOE Live! webinar with Lutheran HealthCare and the Tanenbaum Center.


Additional Resources

Webinars December 13th, 2017

Equity of Care Webinar SeriesPart 2: Aligning Diversity and Inclusion, Community Engagement, Busi......

Webinars November 20th, 2017

Equity of Care Webinar SeriesPart 1: Aligning Diversity and Inclusion, Community Engagement, Busi......

Webinars November 17th, 2017

Transportation and the Role of Hospitals This AHA webinar on “Transportation and the Role of Hos......