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Cultural Approaches to Pediatric Palliative Care in Central Massachusetts: Seventh-day Adventist

This subject guide is a collaborative project with the Children's Medical Center Pediatric Palliative Care Team, the Lamar Soutter Library, and Interpreter Services.

Seventh-day Adventist

Seventh-day Adventist

  • Also known as Adventist, Church of God, Advent Christian Church  


  • Bible is interpreted literally


Daily practices

  • Prayer

Dying and death

  • Euthanasia not practiced
  • Autopsy, donation of body or organs acceptable
  • Disposal of body and burial are individual decisions
  • Do not believe in a continuation of life after death, until the return of Christ

Facilitating practices

  • Ask patient and family about preferred practices
  • Provide for privacy


  • Vegetarian diet encouraged
  • Alcohol, tea and coffee prohibited
  • May practice fasting


  • Believe healing can be accomplished both through medical intervention and divine healing
  • Chaplains and physicians are inseparable
  • Emphasize physical medicine, rehabilitation, and therapeutic diets
  • No restrictions on medications, blood or blood products or vaccines
  • May not condone use of narcotics or stimulants
  • No restrictions on surgical procedures although some may refuse interventions on Friday evening and Saturday the Sabbath

Holy days and festivals

  • Saturday is the Sabbath, a day of worship and rest

Pregnancy and birth

  • Birth control is an individual choice
  • Therapeutic abortion acceptable in cases of danger to mother, rape or incest
  • Opposed to infant baptism


Rituals or ceremonies

  • Pastors and elders may pray and anoint ill person with oil


Spiritual instruments, structure, and symbols

  • Pastors and elders are male

Reproduced by permission from George Handzo, BCC at

Dictionary of Patients' Spiritual & Cultural Values for Health Care Professionals was developed by the Pastoral Care Leadership and Practice Group of HealthCare Chaplaincy, New York, NY. (Revision and update of earlier work by the Rev. Susan Wintz, BCC and the Rev. Earl Cooper, BCC)