• Sikhism is related to Hinduism and was developed in the sixteenth century in Punjab, India.
  • Sikhs believe in one God and many cycles of rebirth. They request equality of all people, regardless of caste, colour, creed or sex.
  • They believe that God is the only reality and spiritual release can be obtained by taming the ego through devotional singing, recitation of the divine name, meditation and service.
  • Sikhs do not have a specific holy day but British Sikhs have adopted Sunday as their holy day.  Prayers are read up to five times daily.
  • As an act of faith Sikhs wear Kesh (long hair kept under a turban); Kangha (a small comb worn in the hair at all times); Kachha (a special type of underwear; Kara (a steel bracelet or ring worn on the right wrist); Kirpaan (a sword symbolically worn by baptised Sikhs). These are known as the five K’s.
  • To indicate equality all men are given the name Singh (lion) and women receive the name Kaur (princess). Some Sikhs prefer to use this religious title rather than their family name.
  • Wherever possible female patients prefer to be seen by female doctors.
  • Sikhs prefer flowing water to wash in before meals, after toilet or after the use of a bedpan.
  • The five K’s worn by Sikh men should not be disturbed.  If it becomes necessary for one of these to be removed the reasons must be very carefully explained to the patient and family.  The community “Gurdwara” (local spiritual leader) must be contacted if there are no relatives.
  • The Kara (bracelet) should only be removed if surgery or x-ray is to be performed on the right arm.  For other operative procedures this should be concealed with tape.  MRI scan may not be performed unless the patient agrees to remove the Kara.
  • If the Kaccha (special shorts) need to be removed they should be replaced by another pair. The patient should be consulted on the method of removal and replacement.
  • Sikhs are basically lacto vegetarian.
  •  Beef and pork are not normally eaten.
  • Many will not accept fish, eggs and meat.
  • The family will normally be present and say prayers.
  • Taped hymns or prayers must be placed bedside the patient.
  • A separate room, if possible, would be appreciated.
  • At death routine procedures may be performed.  Do not remove the five K’s.
  • There is no objection on religious grounds to blood transfusions or organ donation/transplant.
  • There is no religious objection to post mortems.
  • The body should be released as soon as possible to enable the funeral to take place.
  • Sikhs are always cremated.
  • Sikh custom is that comfort given to the bereaved should be by those of the same sex.