‘ When working in the medical field, a sense of sociocultural ethics should be developed from the first day. Regardless of the culture, clients are to be respected and treated equally, with autonomy and social justice. Confucianism is a Chinese culture based on the teachings of Confucius. The most important value to this culture is harmony.
Upon exploring their values and principles, I found their biggest ethical principle is this statement: “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.” Like other cultures, family is at the center of the Confucianism realm. The father is the patriarch, while sons, primarily the oldest, is expected to respect and look after parents. “Traditional Chinese values put the family and society over the individual. A traditional deference to authority may produce miscommunication. For example, patients may nod their head to indicate understanding and agreement, but they may be simply deferring to authority. It is important to be sure they understand what is being said and are not just being polite.” (red paper cultural beliefs)
Discussing each culture’s view on mental health, it is intriguing to find what the culture values in order to accomplish wholesome mental health. I have discovered there is not a “black and white” answer. However, certain acts are taken in order to gain aspects that contribute to mental health, for example, harmony, respect, and knowledge. Confucian individuals value rituals and teachings of Confucius to become competent in his philosophy.
When examining Confucianism’s cultural beliefs regarding that of healthcare, I was awestruck to find the similarities with beliefs of American healthcare. Confucianism principles regarding ethics is fairly simple, placing most importance on the value of the human life. Ethics are to be portrayed with honesty, integrity, and in a dignified manner. It seems one of the most prominent goals is: respect. Differences approach between the American culture and Confucian culture regarding billing. The confucian culture believes the physician should present patients with as much financial support as possible, eliminating most fees. An additional difference of beliefs is what the physician does with their income after it is dispersed. It is understood physicians are to live a simple life, saving money instead of spending money.
Cultural differences should be taken into consideration when determining care and treatment of each client or patient. In order to build a professional relationship with the individual, rapport must be present. To accomplish rapport, the professional should approach the patient with respect, dignity, and nonjudgement. The healthcare personnel should determine what is important to the client regarding their cultural beliefs, without overstepping. Although it is important to be aware of the cultural difference between therapist and the client, it should not change the ethics used when establishing rapport. Every patient should be given time to express values, without being bombarded with questions and opinions.
As discussed prior to this, Confucian philosophy has particular theories when treating clients or patients, as well as, the relationship between the healthcare personnel and patient. For example, when thinking of treatment for a widow or maid, additional precaution should be taken. An immediate relative should be present in the case of questions being examined. Exploring diet and daily habits or occupations are two objects that should be determined very early on in the treatment plan.
Time and setting are of the essence when scheduling treatment sessions for a client of the Confucian culture, affecting the temporal context of the individual and treatment. Education is of high importance for Confucian individuals. Hours are spent during their day studying and practicing. The occupational therapy practitioner should treat the client with the utmost respect while planning a suitable time and schedule for treatment sessions. Although it may be more difficult to organize a schedule that is feasible for both client and therapist, it should be the primary goal. Ultimately, the client being present in sessions is of great significance.
The cultural context should determine what activities will be implemented, as well as what will not. The personal context will help determine what treatment is appropriate for the client’s age and gender. When contemplating using technology within your treatment session, virtual context should always be acceptable to the client.
After researching what is important to the client and their culture, the occupational therapy practitioner would establish a treatment plan equipped of important occupational tasks relatable to the client and their needs. I feel as if activities of daily living will be paramount in treatment. According to research, Confucius’s teachings impart meal prep and mealtime a very important part of an individual, although there are many rules for the client to follow regarding their culture when eating. Ritual attire is worn frequently for all rituals and activities should incorporate that. Overall, activities should be grounded on AOTA’s occupations and client factors: values, beliefs, spirituality, body functions, and body structures.
- Zhaojiang, G. (1995) Chinese Confucian culture and the medical ethical tradition. Journal of medical ethics, 21, 239-246.