The heritage assessment is developed to assist the healthcare provider cultivate a therapeutic relationship and approach in care. The use of this assessment tool provides an informative approach of care for the multiple cultural backgrounds that a provider may come into contact with. Clark, 2002 states, “A succinct knowledge of trans-cultural or multicultural setting within the healthcare realms is helpful in bolstering efforts towards attaining the primary care role of nursing. Thus, when working in the increasingly multicultural settings, nurses ought to refocus on availing culturally competent care, fully customized in suiting the target patient’s own traditions, cultural values, lifestyle, practices, and beliefs.”
This paper is written to examine the health maintenance, restoration and protection decisions between three culturally different families (African American, Asian and Hispanic) and each of their unique values and beliefs associated with their particular ethnic group. Interestingly the result analysis will show that all though three different families presenting with three different origins of origination, traditions, values and beliefs regarding health and wellness as well as beliefs of disease processes share a common core faith and value system towards health maintenance, restoration and the practice of their Christian beliefs. By utilizing the Heritage Assessment Tool that is designed with twenty nine questions that seeks answers to details about the client’s familial relations, cultural background, social supports and religious practices and beliefs. Also, the assessment assists the nurses in the planning, and implementation of customized care, by offering intervention measures that are not only suitable on cultural fronts of the client, but also comfortable to administer (Clark, 2002).
A positive patient-nurse relationship should be guided by the ideals of mutual respect and understanding of the client’s health beliefs, cultural values and religious aspects of practice. The Heritage Assessment Tool details the actual parameters that nurses would use in examining the impacts that cultural settings would have on the patient, by assessing beliefs and dogmas on diseases and wellness. The cultural ties have direct implications on health care administration, including acceptable health promotional messages, preventive care, curative care, and old-age care services (Clark, 2002). Understanding the patient’s beliefs and feelings of health and wellness can assist the nurse providing care the opportunity to effectively communicate and embrace modes of care. The Health Assessment Tool allows nurses to obtain perfect understanding of the client’s personal views towards health as well as how their value systems or practices affect the perception of nursing care. (Clark, 2002)
By interviewing three ethnicities: Asian, African American and Hispanic cultures an attempt is made to document the impacts of the many different values within the culture that may be associated with healthcare and clinical procedures. From the Asian culture the first family interviewed was a Filipino family. The heritage of the Filipino family is rich in traditions and beliefs as well as strong spiritual philosophies. The family unit among Filipinos remains an integral part of their life. In fact, Filipino families find it irresistible to have regular get-togethers and re-unions, as evidenced by their usual desire to hold ‘handaans’ where they literally invite all relatives for a family gathering. (Bateman, Abesamis-Mendoza, & Ho-Asjoe, 2009) It is not uncommon for “handaans” to be held once weekly with members of the family reaching out to their relatives.
Living conditions for the Filipino families include multiple family members living under one roof. Priority and reverence of the elderly family members living in the home are apparent by watching as to how the younger members of the family dote on and care for their elders. As elderly members of the family progress in age and may be in need of advanced care it is not uncommon for the family members to care for their elder at home versus being confined to a nursing home as this is considered disrespectful and forbidden. The family interviewed claims a Christian based faith and attends regular services of the Catholic doctrine.
Even more, in regards to health decisions within Filipino families are completed together with everyone ensuring the wellbeing of the entire family. This being said, some illnesses and mental health issues are seen as an exception to the rule due to the families strong religious beliefs and customary values associated with mental illness and negative spirits that attack one’s body after some way wrong doing the Gods. (Bateman et al., 2009) If a member of the family unit becomes ill the relatives offer emotional and physical support to assist with health restoration. Let’s take for example, by utilizing traditional Asian treatments such as herbal medicine, acupuncture and acupressure Filipino families engage in restorative treatments. Often time’s acupressure will be utilized to relieve pain, nausea and depression and by utilizing small needles to specific pinpoint locations of the body acupuncture may be used to treat colds, itching and acute conditions. Herbal medicine assists with health restoration, maintenance and the populace that may be vulnerable. . At home the family enjoys their Asian delicacies; with emphasis on healthy diet to enhance body immunity. The health traditions are maintained across generations through apprenticeship, rituals/cultural events, and mentorships (Bateman et al., 2009).
The second family was of the African American decent that was interviewed. Cultural systems of African Americans have been hindered after arriving to the U.S. African American cultural values and beliefs are deeply rooted in Africa, mainly Sub-Saharan African as well as Shelean cultures (Quaye, 2005). Unlike Filipino families, African American family units tend to be more loosely connected and focus more on the annual reunions and get-togethers. It is not uncommon for family members to see each other once a year or for special occasions. As family concerns and issues become apparent contact may be made via a telephone call at which time family members may then provide advice or support. The family interviewed considered themselves to be Baptist and go to church on special occasions stating that they often congregate with others of the same faith outside of the church setting. In regards to healthcare the family sees illness and other health issues as “getting aged” or just growing older. The matriarch of the family is willing to share that they have a strong familial incident of hypertension, cardiac disease and other illnesses that are culturally common within their heritage.
Even though the family does not freely talk about illness directly to the affected member of the family it is not uncommon that they discuss it among themselves. Though African American uses mainstream treatment means and therapeutic approaches, health restoration and maintenance is purely based on adherence to a healthy diet. (Quaye, 2005) Life sustainment and prolonged treatment may be sought during times of terminal illness but depending on economical standing may be averted. Medical support systems and preventative care are occasionally sought after within the community setting during health fairs for screenings for illnesses such as prostate and breast cancer during the onset of old age.
The health traditions are retained through kingship and extended social networks where close and extended families pass on treatment traditions and beliefs across generations (Quaye, 2005). The last family interviewed was of Hispanic decent and unlike the Filipino and African American families has very little contact with their relatives as most immediate and extended family members live in Mexico. Although the family can contact each other via phone and social media they rarely visit in person due to crossing the border. The family practices Catholicism and attends mass on a regular basis. Further, the interviewed family, like other Mexican families, views the cause of illness or diseases as jealousy against others or due to resulting imbalance between cold and hot. (West, 2005)
Herbal remedies and treatments are a common Mexican health tradition to fend off the illness and keep the sick family member warm and the use of oil is utilized to ensure the patient is protected from dehydration. It is not uncommon for the family to use traditional cures for heath restoration such as Curanderos or conditional care for illnesses such as diabetes. Home remedies are often passed down from generation to generation. During chronic conditions, health restoration and maintenance may be done through conventional treatment, but only after the mother convinces the father the importance of doing so (West, 2005).
In conclusion, the three immigrant families show distinctive ideas and beliefs of traditional health maintenance and wellness after arriving the U.S but it can be seen that they share a common belief in faith as indicating their value systems towards restoration and feel they are protected by their Christian faith .When planning for wellness and health maintenance as well as restorative care it is important to consider family background, beliefs, values regarding the ailment and develop interventional measures that observes specific traditions as well as cultural and religious values.
Bateman, W., Abesamis-Mendoza, N., & Ho-Asjoe, H. (2009). Praeger Handbook of Asian American Health: Taking Notice and Taking Action, Volume 1. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO publishers. Clark, C. C. (2002). Health Promotion in Communities: Holistic and Wellness Approaches. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company. Quaye, R. (2005). African Americans’ Health Care Practices, Perspectives, and Needs. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America. West, J. (2005). Mexican-American Folklore. Armonk, NY: august house