Heritage Assessment Tool


Within the scope of this assignment, the assessment of how different families tend to subscribe to different practices and traditions must be offered in detail and at the same time in conjunction with critical reflections and insights about how their heritage affects their current culture. Therefore, nurses need to provide culturally sensitive patient care to establish good rapport and maintain a safe working relationship with each patient. A nurse must, therefore, establish and evaluate the patients’ values, beliefs, and culture to provide culturally sensitive care for each of them. In most circumstances, the nurse obtains this information through the use of a heritage assessment tool. This tool enables the nurse to determine the importance of heritage for the individual and whether the patients’ way of life is adopted from the family or history. This paper, therefore, aims to explore the cultural beliefs of three families – a Hispanic family, an American family of European origin, and the family of the author, from the perspectives of health maintenance, traditions promotion, and health restoration. The paper further explores different collective health traditions of these families that are based on their cultural heritage and evaluates how different families ascribe to their practices and traditions. Therefore, a critical evaluation of diverse heritage and cultural aspects is crucial in pinpointing the differences and similarities that are important for optimal and holistic healthcare delivery.

Heritage Assessment Tool

A heritage assessment tool can be used reliably to assess patients’ needs and to provide holistic patient care. The tool further determines the capacity of a given individual to follow and adhere to his/her cultural heritage. The practice of using the heritage assessment tool is vital for a nurse during evaluation since it provides a useful insight into the kind of care that the nurses should provide to the patients. Furthermore, in today’s society, many people have deviated from the typical cultural aspects and have opted to associate themselves with or even marry people from different cultural backgrounds. The proposed form of assessment is, therefore, critical or the subsequent evaluation of the needs of a person, since it addresses the individual’s way of life and preferences while at the same time assessing his/her heritage. This knowledge enables nurses to personalize patient care plans and interventions as well as allows them to provide holistic treatment. With this assessment tool, the nurse is successfully supplied with specific details regarding religion, cultural beliefs, and values, which enables him/her to provide effective mental, spiritual and physical care to the patients.

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Interviews with Families

To effectively compare cultural differences of different families, three interviews were carried out with three families with varying cultural backgrounds. The first family was the author’s family, the second family was of Hispanic origin, and the third family was an American household of European origin. These families were subjected to a series of questions related to their health traditions and at the same time addressing their mental, spiritual and physical views on health protection, restoration, and maintenance.

Health maintenance

The overall health maintenance of a given patient can be influenced greatly by the value that the patient places on given family values. From the interview, it was discovered that the Hispanic family and the American with European origin both place great value regarding a family relationship. The two families were able to express a great awareness of their extended families and were active participants in their social setup. The most important system of support o any cultural group is the aspect of a family unit. The extended family networks often ensure all the family members help each other in difficult times such as financial or health problems.

My family, however, was found to have placed an entirely different value on the aspect of a family system. The members of my family unit were found to be under the age of 32, and we were from a single-parent household. The members indicated no close ties with any members of the family and did not participate in any family activities unless on a special occasion such as festive celebrations. Furthermore, they were self-reliant and did not subscribe to any extended family connections. The members considered their personal and close friends as their main support system, and it is our friends who primarily influence our pursuit of health maintenance.

The aspect of understanding the value that patients place on the family unit can, therefore, provide the nurse with insights into different interventions regarding providing given care. The interventions may include integrating a support system that includes a close friend or family member.

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Health Protection

Health protection is greatly influenced by cultural and religious beliefs since it is an aspect of health promotion. The Hispanic family expressed great devotion to Catholic beliefs, which were evident in weekly church attendance, daily reading of the Bible, and prayers. According to Askim-Lovseth & Aldana (2010), any family’s religious beliefs often form a part of its value system regarding illness and health. Therefore, the Hispanic culture as a whole often combines the aspect of religion with a strong, spiritual belief in the supernatural. In the same manner, the American family of European origin expressed specific cultural and religious beliefs about illness and healthcare. The family believes that any individual’s state of health is influenced by how harmoniously this individual lives with the surrounding nature. Therefore, an illness occurs when there is a conflict between an individual and the supernatural or natural forces.

According to the authors’ young family, the main driving forces behind health protection are the aspects of youth and invincibility. According to Gough, Fry, Grogan, & Conner (2009), the defense of an individual against an illness does not factor in the daily lives of young people, since youth considers disease to be inconceivable and insubstantial for young bodies. The knowledge of the patients’ views and beliefs about health and prevention of diseases is crucial for a nurse, as it determines future interventions that incorporate religious beliefs, values, care protection plans, and general views of the patient (Edelman, Mandle, & Kudzma, 2013).

Health Restoration

The three families share similar views on health-related issues, especially on health restoration. All of the families stated that growing with friends of the same religious and ethnic background enabled them to integrate into the social system and engage in ethnic activities. Such activities include athletics and gymnastics, which restore physical health extremely well. Regarding spiritual health restoration, the three families subscribe to different religions, which encompass weekly and daily prayers that restore their spiritual wellbeing.

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The main barrier towards improving the health status amongst various ethnic groups often lies in the incongruent attitudes and beliefs that exist among different ethnic cultures of patients and healthcare providers. Thus, healthcare providers need to adjust their response rate to cover the cultural beliefs and values of different people within their jurisdiction to enhance care delivery. The three families that were interviewed all ascribed to different ethnic beliefs regarding health, but at the same time shared certain similarities. Therefore, it is imperative for a nurse who wants to administer holistic patient care to understand the patients’ cultures.

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