The heritage assessment tool is useful in providing a view or the whole person. Understanding how different people deal with medical issues, get medical care, and tools they use in different cultures. Culture plays an important role in how medical procedures are done in different countries. Using an assessment tool enables you to get a more complete picture of the individual. The practice of using a variety of questions to more fully assess people give us a picture of the whole-person.
Leininger, has defined transcultural nursing as “the humanistic and scientific area of formal study and practice in nursing which is focused on differences and similarities among cultures with respect to human care, health, and illness based on people’s cultural values, beliefs, and practices, and to use this knowledge to give culturally specific or culturally congruent nursing care to people” [p. 60]. Using heritage assessment tools in nursing can bring about benefits for patients, families, nurses and health care providers in terms of getting a whole picture of people in different cultures.
Knowing about people’s cultural values and understanding the importance can help nurses take better care of our patients. “An increased focus on the efficiency and effectiveness of health services, patient safety, and risk management, means that provision of culturally responsive and competent health services will inevitably become paramount. ”(Higginbottom, Richter, & Mogalel, 2011) Family Interviews Three families of different cultures, were interviewed to see how they handled health maintenance, health protection, and health restoration.
Each family handles these issues differently depending on their cultural beliefs. The families interviewed included a Hispanic, Native American, and Caucasian. “Culture, as an element of ethnicity, consists of shared patterns of values and behaviors that characterize a particular group” (Winkelman, 2001). It is “shaped by values, beliefs, norms, and practices that are shared by members of the same cultural group” (Giger & Davidhizar, 2008, p. 2). The Native American family interviewed live on the reservation and gets what little health care from Indian Health Services.
Only one member of the family was educated passed sixth grade and only three members speak English, they speak their native language in their home. They rarely see a Dr. and of the five member of the family only one had seen a dentist in the last five years. None of the members of the family are active, they lead a very sedentary lifestyle. All members of the family drink daily, smoke cigarettes and are overweight. Three members of the family are diabetic, but only one of them tries to manage their disease.
She does take her blood sugars four times a day and ties to manage her blood glucose levels with her diet. At this time the family is not doing anything to restore their health. The Hispanic family of six interviewed live in a two bedroom home. All members of the family work but none of them have health insurance. Only one member of the family has a high school diploma making it difficult for them to get jobs that provide insurance. “Many Hispanic Americans may not readily seek care because they have continued reliance on their folk system of healing. ”(Feininger, 1991, p.61).
The lack of insurance make it difficult for them to get any kind of preventative or maintenance health so they rely on folk medicine. Language barriers has also been a deterrent for them to seek health care as none of them speak English fluently and they find that most clinics do not have interpreters.
They do use the hospital ER regularly because they know there is an interpreter if they go before five o’clock. They are not well informed about their health conditions one member had asthma and uses an inhaler daily, but it is difficult because they use the ER to get it he goes when he needs a new inhaler using the ER as a Dr.
Office. They all work outside and they do use sunscreen whenever they are outside. They wear long shelves to keep their skin covered and wear a hat to protect their faces and sun glasses for eye protection. There did eat a healthy diet and none of them were overweight. They didn’t exercise daily, but all did do manual labor in their job so they were active. Again this family was not involved in any kind of health restoration at this time. My family has been blessed to have been able to have health insurance and suffer from no chronic health issues.
We all have high level of education and work in positions that offer insurance and paid sick time. We see the dentist twice a year for preventative care. Our primary care Dr. is available seven days a week for emergencies that don’t require an emergency room visit. We go to the gym that we are members of five days a week and we eat very healthy. A member of my family did recently have a broken wrist and once the cast was off they went to rehab for a few weeks to restore all the range of motion that they have before the break.
Common Health Traditions and How Families Subscribe to the Tradition The Native American health traditions are an important way of life for them. In the community they have specific people known to have the power to heal called a medicine man/woman or shaman. They use parts of plants as medicines and are most often roots, occasionally twigs, leaves, or bark. Parts of animals and minerals are also used as part of medications. Protective objects are sometimes worn or carried or hung around the neck, wrist, or waist to protect the person wearing them from the evil eye or evil spirits.
They believed that eating foods like garli and onions will prevent illness. They will were it from there neck and hang it in the home to prevent illness. While at the home of the Native American family I did see garlic hanging near the doorway. The Latino/Hispanic health traditions are family centered. They believe that having the family around when someone is ill is the most important. “During times of illness and crisis, the family is there for the individual. ”(Edelaman & Mandle, 2010, p. 36) They also use a number of home remedies and like to speak with folk healers.
Other health beliefs that they use is hot and cold and wet and dry for recovering from illness. “Spiritualists use medals, amulets, and prayers to affect a cure. ”(Edelaman & Mandle, 2010, p. 38) The family had numerous relatives over while I visited with them, aunts, uncles and cousins all live on the same street. My families’ health tradition is acupuncture and chiropractic’s. We believe that when your spine is in alignment your whole body is at peace. Along with the acupuncture to relieve your stress and improve the energy in your body.
We see healing as a natural process and we will try our methods to heal ourselves before we take medication. “Evidence Based Medicine is not all it is hyped to be. Less invasive alternatives like acupuncture are better choices. ” (http://www. ted. com/talks/ben_goldacre_what_doctors_don_t_know_about_the_drugs_they_prescribe. html? utm) “Regular chiropractic visits may help maintain bodies at the high level of activity to which they have become accustomed and even aid in function allowing the body to self-heal when proper alignment is achieved and maintained. ”(Ernst, 2002, p. 1603) The family.