Healthcare in the Amish Community

Healthcare in the Amish Community is very different from the outside world. Healthcare practices vary considerably across the Amish community and from family to family. This is due to the different Amish beliefs and faith. The Amish believe that medicine can help in certain situations but God is the ultimate healer. Being good stewards of their bodies is what Amish should do because they believe their body is a temple of God. Also, the Amish believe good health is a gift from God.

Sharing Expenses

Taking care of their families and friends is important in the healthcare in the Amish community. Sometimes expenses for an Amish family are too high for one family to afford. The church community steps in to offer aid. “The way they come together to pay for healthcare is amazing,” said Jan Bergen, chief operating officer at Lancaster General Health. “Their sense of responsibility extends beyond themselves and to the community.”

Amish families are without health insurance but do not worry about paying their bills. Most of the time extended family, friends and the church help pay for the expenses. The Amish have a reputation for paying their bills promptly. Therefore, they have been able to negotiate advantageous rates in a number of communities. “The Amish have opted out of both Social Security and health insurance. The basic religious reason driving their resistance is that, as a religious faith, the church community should take care of its own members,” said Donald Kraybill author of “The Amish” and professor at Elizabethtown College. “If there’s a disaster like a tornado, fire or hospital bill, the community should come together for that. “Bear on another’s burdens”(Galations 6:2) represents the Amish beliefs of taking care of the sick, elderly and feeble in their community.

Alternative Medicine

Healthcare in the Amish community often becomes alternative medicine. The Amish are less likely to seek medical attention when self-medication is available. Folk medicine can be faith healing, herbal treatment and other non-traditional medical remedies. The use of folk remedies for minor ailments is based on the need of the Amish to remain self-sufficient.

Amish boy visiting a doctor
Amish boy visiting the doctor

Genetic Disorders

About all Amish descend from about 500 18th-century founders. Genetic disorders due to inbreeding exist in more isolated areas. Some of these disorders are serious enough to increase the mortality rate among Amish children. Amish children are more susceptible to recessive genetic disorders. This is the result of a small and largely isolated population. In addition, intermarriage among the Amish culture has resulted in a large number of recessive disorders. Many of these disorders are not recognized outside the Amish population.

Health Education

The Amish are very concerned about the health of their family. Therefore many have an interest in learning about health related topics. They may participate in workshops, subscribe to magazines and rely on the local library. Amish will look for advice from a source which they have trust and confidence. This may include a beloved nurse practitioner or a country doctor.

Pregnancy

Babies are viewed as a gift from God and always a welcome gift in the Amish culture. Most Amish do not use birth control to limit their family size. Birth control is believed to interfere with God’s will. When pregnancy does occur, the Amish family prepares for the birth. Lamaze classes are usually held in church. Prenatal care is started early into the pregnancy. Herbs are often used to help calm the uterus, quiet the nerves, ease the pain and help make labor easier and on time.

Healthcare in the Amish community is quite different from our healthcare. The Amish do not need health insurance because according to the bible they must take care of their own.

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