When Your Patient is Jewish
While the primary role of any physician is to discuss the patient’s diagnosis, prognosis and treatment options, understanding the patient’s perspective and values is crucial to enabling them to make the best choice.
In collaboration with the patient’s primary physician, patients on a Jewish hospice program are cared for by an interdisciplinary team of professionals from diverse fields who coordinate to meet those care goal(s) identified by the patient. They are specially trained in alleviating physical, emotional and spiritual suffering for the patient as well as their family.
In a well-developed Jewish hospice program, like MJHS Hospice, all staff members are sensitive to Jewish religious and cultural preferences. Religious observances will be respected, dietary preferences and kitchen integrity will be maintained, funeral planning can involve the Chevra Kadisha (Jewish communal burial society), and burial on a short timeline – often within 24 hours of the patient’s passing – is often possible.
If you know that your patient or their family observes halachah (traditional Jewish law), look for a Jewish hospice program, such as MJHS’ “Halachic Pathway,” that can assure your patient that a chosen posek (rabbinic advisor) is included in the medical decision-making process. This enables your patients and their families to receive end-of-life care that adheres to their personal religious practice and to Jewish law.
If you identify yourself as a member of an Orthodox Jewish community or if you are working with a patient who identifies as Orthodox, you might also find these articles of interest:
- “Increasing Access to Palliative Care for the Orthodox Jewish Community”
- “Jewish Law (Halachah) and Medical Decision-Making,” AJAS Journal on Jewish Aging
- Prolonging Life in the Shadow of Death: Where Halacha Guidelines and Medical Expertise Meet
For halachic medical forms, please visit our Forms/Advance Directives section.