Dear Colleagues, you have a patient who is a member of the Amish community.
Here is a list of useful information to know about their medical care.
● The Amish community is a Christian religious community of approximately 350,000 people living primarily in Pennsylvania, USA.
● The community lives on the bangs of contemporary society, staying away from any form of modernity. Their way of life may resemble that of the 18th century.
● Some gradually accept the use of electricity. On the other hand, others remain totally isolated from the outside world.
● Non-violence is part of their ideology.
● Most Amish families speak among themselves a German dialect known as Pennsylvania German.
● There is no hierarchy among the Amish; they all consider themselves on the same level.
● The Amish do not have social security or retirement contributions, mutual aid and solidarity make up for it.
Beliefs, Practices & Rituals
● The Amish refer mainly to the New Testament.
● They favor traditional medicines, such as naturopathy or reflexology. However, they may use modern medicine and attend hospitals.
● The Amish do not universally reject vaccines, although their vaccine coverage rate remains low.
● Community members are only allowed to marry each other, promoting recessive diseases.
● There is no prohibition against organ transplantation according to the community’s principles.
● Amish cuisine is close to that of northern European countries, from which members often originate.
● Their diet is very high in fat and sugar, and the population consumes a lot of meat, potatoes, bread, cakes and eggs.
● The community consumes mainly products from their own cultivation and breeding, without GMOs or phytosanitary products.
● Tobacco is prohibited and alcohol consumption is very limited.
Pregnancy and motherhood
● Amish families often have 8 to 10 children. Birth control is prohibited.
● When born, the baby is wiped directly from head to toe with baby oil and dressed in a robe and bonnet.
● The Amish believe that the mother has no milk on the first day. So they do not feed the baby until the next day. Sometimes the Amish give the baby watermelon seed tea, thinking to prevent jaundice.
● The Amish church does not prohibit vaccinations, but only 16-26% of Amish children have ever received a shot against the most common childhood diseases.
● Death is a topic that Amish people talk about openly.
● Amish people show restraint about showing their emotions, especially at the time of bereavement.
● Before the body is released to the funeral home, the family may ask to wash it.
● The Amish may want to transport the body in a cart of some sort.
Examples of Cases Encountered
This section allows us to share real-life experiences. Please feel free to share yours with the community.
● Cleveland Clinic - Diversity Toolkit.
● Semioweb.msh-paris.fr - Work cultural references Amish file.
● Trip-voyages.com - Going to meet the Amish of the United States.
Mindfulmamma.co.uk - Why do the Amish give birth so well?
Frazerconsultants.com - ● Cultural Spotlight: Amish funeral traditions.
Amishamerica.com - What does an Amish funeral look like?