What are the hospital regulations in relation to the Sikh Articles of Faith during medical procedures?

A:

What should staff do/not do if a patient is wearing a Kirpan (sword)?

  • The Kirpan is considered by Sikhs to be a gift from their Guru (Prophet/teacher).
  • If a patient is wearing a kirpan, staff should be considerate of the patient’s feelings and love towards it.
  • If the kirpan must be removed for medical reasons please explain this to the patient/family and allow them to remove it gently. If they are unable to remove the kirpan themselves, please ensure your hands are clean and gently remove it and place it on a clean space.
  • Please also see the note below.

What if the patient has a mental health issue and has a kirpan?

  • If the patient has been identified as a risk to themselves or others, please consult with the family as alternatives may be possible.
  • Spiritual Care and Diversity Services have access to symbolic/miniature Kirpans that may be acceptable as a replacement (please consult with patient and/or family) ext 50103 or 50101.

Removal of Hair:

  • Since hair is considered a gift from God, it should not be removed from any part of a Sikh’s patient’s body without consent from the patient or a substitute decision maker.
  • In the case that a Sikh patient is in impaired capacity and their life is at high risk, medical treatment can be carried out without delay when there is no time to obtain consent. The cutting of any hair on the body should be avoided at all cost, unless life threatening medical treatment will be impaired without the removal of hair. 

Can I substitute a hat or surgical cap for the turban?

  • Please consult with the patient or family member; a surgical bouffant cap may be acceptable but a hat may not be.
  • After removing their headdress, Sikh patients may want to keep their head covered with an alternative covering such as a small turban or a scarf. The headdress should be respected, and if removed, it should be given to the family or placed with the patient's personal belongings.
  • Please do not place the headdress with shoes/footwear or on the floor.

Kara

  • It may not be possible to remove the bracelet because the hand no longer slips through. In such an instance, work with your team and the patient to determine what accommodations can be made. Examples include:
    • Surgery: the bracelet can be taped off

CT Scan: The hand with the bracelet can be moved to the side

 


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