The heritage assessment tool is a checklist used by professionals to gain knowledge of patient’s culture and beliefs prior to initiating care. (Spector, 2000). There are many different cultures in this country, brining different beliefs in health, illness, recovery, death, and life. The heritage assessment tool is an important measure towards better understanding of cultural competency, or recognition of diversity. A person’s culture, beliefs, heritage, and language have a substantial impact both as a patient and a health care provider within the health care system. Spector, 2009).
The healthy people 2010 goal “eliminating all health disparities” implies the need for all healthcare providers to be client centered and culturally competent. Increasing diversity of the United States population is a reality in the 21st century. “The Census 2000 indicates that one out of four persons in the US are non-Whites with Hispanic Americans constituting the largest and fastest growing minority group. ” (Sankaran, 2007) The heritage assessment tool provides insight into the culture of the individual client.
The awareness of language and religion promote continuity in healthcare by promoting education to be geared toward the client’s beliefs and value system. Knowing how deeply involved a client is in the traditional heritage is vital to being able to positively impact their health care requirements. Comparison of health traditions Three different ethnic groups were interviewed, a white, non-Hispanic, a Puerto-Rican, and Filipino family. Utilizing the heritage assessment tool for comparison in health traditions to discuss health maintenance, health protection, and health restoration.
Health maintenance Puerto Rican culture has more concern with becoming ill rather that of dying. This culture is known for not seeking medical care until an individual is so ill it requires a visit to the emergency room. Utilizes traditional practices primarily for health care due to low income and often lack of insurance. The Filipino family is very rooted in tradition and often rely on these beliefs for health maintenance. An interesting fact is that a majority of Filipino immigrants work in health care, mainly as nurses.
Possibly due to the value of caring for others, primarily emphasized in women. (Ordonez & Gandeza, 2004). The white, non-Hispanic family that was born in the US does not follow any traditional medicine. This family follows up with family doctor regularly preferring to use emergency room only when doctor office is not open. Home remedies are not commonly used. Health protection Health promotion is similar between the Puerto Rican and Filipino families; with a firm base in Catholicism the belief the good health involves balanced spirituality.
Faith and Church are central to family life. Both families maintain traditional diets of their ethnic background and consider a good appetite as a sign of good health. Education on prevention and assistance with insurance is needed for the Puerto Rican population. The Filipino group needs reinforced education on issues of self-care being just as important as caring for others. Community based education on health promotion is vital for both of these groups due to strength in family ties.
The white, non-Hispanic family operates according to the pediatrician’s guidelines for medical care. Protection of health is maintained by a balance of modern medicine, balanced, diet, and physical activity. Health restoration For health restoration the Puerto Rican culture believes in extended family involvement and spirituality. Family is valued more than an individual or a community. Traditional medicines are preferred for healing and will seek medical treatment only when no longer able to perform daily activities.
Filipino culture believes that balance in all aspects of life, family, spiritual, and work is required for restoration of health. Will seek medical care if traditional medicine is not effective in maintaining functionality. The non-Hispanic, white seeks medical care and pharmacologic medicine for restoration of health. Utilizes some homeopathic treatments to alleviate side effects and increase comfort while healing. Conclusion The comparison of the three cultures found that the immigrants to the United States maintained strong ties to the country of their birth or parents birth.
Preferring to speak in the native language and maintaining ethnic diets. Each group married an individual from the same ethnic and religious background and maintained strong connections with family. The greatest difference is the timing of seeking out health care. The cultures that were not US born tended to utilize traditional medicine before seeking out treatment from a medical doctor. This is partially due to lack of access to health care for the Hispanic populations.
The three families each believed that faith is vital to health and routinely attend church and participate as active members within the church. Knowledge of the individual’s culture provides insight into the complex beliefs and value system of various ethnic groups that make up the United States today. The heritage assessment tool provided an opportunity to view and compare cultures for encouraging incorporation of individual beliefs into a plan for health promotion.