The purpose of family assessment is to promote health and control or prevent control diseases affecting the families. During the assessment, the nurse will be able to evaluate the overall health status of the family, interpersonal relationship between individual members, and any chronological diseases in the family. Identifying the risk factors existing in the family will help the nurse to plan the interventions needed for improving the family health.
The important goals of family health promotion assessments are to promote family health, improve family unity, and increase quality of life. Family is defined as ‘any group of people related either biologically, emotionally or legally’. That is the group of people the patient defines as significant for his or her well-being.”(McDaniel et el., 2005 p2). Affection, obligation, caring, dependence, and cooperation are some of the indispensable qualities of a family.
Family values are shaped by religious, spiritual and traditional beliefs. When I selected my family for the health assessment of each functional health patterns, I was able to get an expression of the family member’s health view and the life style or life processes. I started the interview with open ended question for each of the eleven functional health patterns. We uphold certain values that have been passed down from my parents and we pass them through to our children from an early age and try to develop those important values while they are growing.
Some of the important values in my family are trust of God, honesty, family unity, respect others and superiors, treat everybody with dignity, and politeness. My family has got a good awareness about health promoting activities and ways in maintaining an optimal quality of life like well-balanced nutrition, immunization, safety precautions etc. We give importance to healthy foods, mostly home prepared but unfortunately my daughter has to depend on fast foods since she is away from home most of the time and lives in the college campus.
Due to that we observe that she is gaining more wait! We as family have regular elimination of bowel, bladder and skin except for my daughter who has constipation issues due to her present living situations. We make sure that our family members get enough hours of sleep and rest, although I myself do not get adequate sleep due to the nature of my work shift. I try to compensate that by take extra and enough hours of sleep during my off days. However, lack of enough sleep does not affect my cognitive functions.
When I assessed the activity and exercise patterns in my family, I realized my daughter is not doing sufficient exercises as a commitment to health promotion and preventive care. I walk thirty minutes every day in the park, my husband and two teenage boys play basketball for one hour every other day. During the assessment of cognitive-perceptual pattern it is found out that my husband has decreased visual acuity.
He uses eye glasses for reading and driving. His work requires constant use of computer and that made the vision worse. During the assessment of self-perception/self-concept pattern, it was revealed that my daughter is having low self- esteem due to her overweight.
With regards to the roles-relationship pattern I have not identified any problem during my assessment. We family members are committed to our roles and good relationship in the home, in school, work place, in the neighborhood and in the church. While doing the sexuality–reproductive pattern assessment I found normal sexual development for the children, and normal intimacy between we parents.
Our culture has a stronger influence on sexual behavior on each member of the family. We advice our children not to be active in sexual activities before marriage since our cultural values prohibit that. I noticed a normal coping- stress tolerance pattern in my family. Even though certain level of stress is a necessary part of our life we have adapted some coping mechanism to reduce the effects of stress.
Based on assessment of my family, some of the wellness and family nursing diagnoses about my family that I have identified are: (1) Actual Imbalanced nutrition-more than body requirements, (2) Actual constipation, (3) Actual sleeps deprivation, (4) Disturbed body image, and (5) Disturbed visual perception.
To promote healthy physical development my family members are reminded of changing our current life style to a much healthier one, by modifying food habits and exercise patterns. Since my family has actual constipation problem we decided to increase fruits and vegetable intake in our daily diet. My daughter was given proper education about balancing the food intake and the energy burning to reduce the body weight.
We realized stress in studies was one of the causes of her overeating. She started to do some meditation and yoga to reduce her stress. Now she is determined to continue physical exercise in the recreational and wellness center. I encouraged my daughter to join the fitness center for weight loss and recreational activities nearby our house, operated by the community. She has agreed to join there during summer vacation starting on next week. She has strong desire to reduce her weight by doing exercise and nutritional modifications.
This fitness center helps the customers to identify the risk factors for disease and suggest various solutions to modify that risk. They not only detect disease before symptom arises but also provides therapies to prevent disease in first place. My husband has mild high blood pressure and he is planning to join this fitness center in order to lower the blood pressure to a completely normal stage so that he can alleviate the fear of heart disease and stroke.
Food and Nutrition Information Center is an excellent web-based resource that have been found to be helpful for my family to manage weight and obesity. This resource provides dependable nutrition information about weight loss management and obesity through books, leaflet and website. We got a good understanding about the definition of overweight and obesity, possible causes of overweight, risk associated with overweight, their treatment and prevention methods. I was surprised to learn that health risk of obesity is worse than smoking, drinking, and poverty!
Proper planningand interventions for the first nursing diagnosis (Actual imbalanced nutrition-more than body requirements) identified in my family is closely involved in the management of other nursing diagnoses like actual constipation and disturbed body image. Assessment of one functional health pattern will elicit another health pattern problem. Since my husband has the diagnosis of disturbed visual perception he has to continue with the vision management by the ophthalmologist. He understands the importance of the follow up and vision test to change power of eye glasses as needed.
The system theory (Edelman & Mandle, 2006) guided me in great extent to assess my family. I found this theory very helpful and effective to explain the patterns of living among the individuals in my family system. Use of this theory enabled me to get the responses of family members about the influencing living style. It is hard to understand the family system when we examine the members separately since it is complex as a whole.
Healthy conducts begins from the family and each family member has an important role in adapting healthy choices and recalling the effects of unhealthy selections in lifestyle. The effect of unhealthy choices of an individual in the family can affect the life of whole family members.
With the result of this family assessment data regarding eleven health patterns reveals understanding about the family’s health promotion and disease prevention practices more precisely.
This reinforces the fact that the ultimate goal of the family assessment is to provide reinforcement to positive health behavior practices, promote health, and prevent disease. This will enable nurses to check the risk for serious illness in family environment, and corrective measures can be taken reduce or prevent such chronic diseases through appropriate family health assessments in due time.
References:Mandle, C.L.; Edelman,C.L. (2010). Health Promotion throughout the life span (7th Edition) Frank, E. posted 6/14/2007, Medscape General Medicine, retrieved from www.medscape.com/features/newsletters/public.