Family Health Assessment

Family Health Assessment

Family Structure

The family that took part in this interview was mixed in so many ways. The parents were both mixed race, with the father’s father being black from Senegal and his mother from England. The mother was a mix of Mexican and black French parents. The two met in the United States where they had come to study, got married and settled. They have seven children, three daughters and four sons. All the siblings are married save for the last born, who are twins, a son and a daughter. It is a big family as it is. They are not overly religious people with the children going to the churches of their choice, the parents do not make decisions for their children, which is evident given that one of Jason’s sisters is in an LGBTQ relationship which the parents embraced and supported (Erdem & Safi, 2018). The parents are both PhD holders in their respective fields and they live a fairly opulent life. I believe that their level of education plays a big role in their placement in terms of their social status. Their environment allows them to have the freedom to choose their way of life. I interviewed the first born and son of the couple, Jason, who was willing to speak about his family. He was free and eager to connect with the research especially when he learnt that it is related to health. He is a public health expert professionally. He was well spoken and fluent in his responses which represent the social class and exposure he has had in his life growing up, he is knowledgeable in matters health and general public topics. The family is a closely knit nuclear family with all the siblings and their families living within the same city as each other as well as their parents. 

Health behaviours and current health status of the family

During the interview, I noted that Jason’s family is concerned about their health. They all have valid insurance covers. They eat fairly well, not too much junk as they run a family restaurant that serves healthy food at affordable costs. Most of the family members have gym subscriptions and those who do not have are always going for morning runs. The health of the family can be said to be exemplary and unique for a family that has fully adapted to the liberal thinking and way of life in the United States. However, two of Jason’s brothers have health issues. One is obese while the other one has diabetes. Jason’s mother has a back problem which she developed after the birth of her fourth child. In summary, the health status of the family is impeccable given that only the three mentioned family members have health challenges that are not easily treatable.

Lifestyle

The brother with diabetes can manage the condition well by following up on his treatment and eating well. He developed diabetes after years of being a smoker. He is lucky that his wife is a trained nurse and constantly checks on him to ensure that he is up to date with his medication. He has lived with diabetes for about ten years now and has only been hospitalized for it twice in the ten year period. Jason was quick to point out that his brother was lucky because he has access to good health care, which I agree with given that most people with diabetes have a hard time living because of lack of proper health care. 

Mental Health 

The brother with obesity got there after a depressive phase which resulted in him binge eating and not working. He stayed in the house for two years, a period within which Jason and the family tried to get him to speak to a counsellor and he turned them down. He has since been able to leave the house and is seeking professional care. The counselling services are costly and would be unachievable for people without means. Jason’s brother used up his life savings within the two years and his parents and siblings had to step in to pay for his care when he finally agreed to leave the house and see a therapist (Heather, 2014). He has since recovered and is working on eating healthy and clean.

Activity

His mother’s back problem may have been averted if she had paid attention to the doctor’s warnings and direction to stay in bed for up to a month after delivery. However, at that time, she was pursuing her PhD and nothing would convince her to slow down. This is a case of non-compliance for a patient which results in worse health complications later in life. 

Family systems theory 

The family systems theory ties together the members of the family into one emotional unit. It means that one cannot solve the problem of one family member in isolation (Stupart, 2017). In order to solve the challenges of the family member, the whole family unit as to come together to enact it. Therefore, the brother with obesity is the best to work with when discussing the family unit with regards to Jason’s family. Jason’s family is supportive and collaborative. However, the depression state of the brother may have been prevented or made better by the family bringing a new or neutral party to speak to him. There being supportive is a good thing but at the same time may have made things worse or had they spiral out of control.

Appendix I

Interview questionnaire

  1. Values/ health perception
  1. What is a healthy lifestyle according to you?
  2. Do you share your views with your family members? If yes, what may they add to your perspective? If no, what do they think is being strict on yourself?
  3. What would you say about people who prefer to eat processed food all the time instead of preparing some of their meals?
  4. Nutrition
  1. During your childhood or that of your children, what values about nutrition do you find relevant?
  2. The cost of organic food is really high in the United States, what does that do to the general health of people in the United States?
  3. What do you as a family do to maintain healthy nutritional values in your daily lives?
  4. Sleep/rest
  1. In your family, is it a custom to get constant rest and sleep?
  2. What happens when one has a deadline to beat and they have to skip or reduce their hours of rest?
  3. Do you and your family members work or have an activity that would deny them a chance to rest regularly, if yes, how do they cope?
  4. Elimination
  1. What does your family do to prevent burnouts?
  2. What values have you and your family members are known to eliminate to ensure you lead healthy lifestyles?
  3. Is mental health inclusive in the family’s description of a healthy lifestyle? If yes, how do you prevent mental health challenges?
  4. Activity/exercise
  1. Is frequent exercise part of the health maintenance routines for the family?
  2. What is the family’s perspective on leading a healthy lifestyle in terms of taking part in strenuous activities or exercise?
  3. What does the family do to encourage frequent exercising and care when working and exercising?
  4. Cognitive
  1. What is the view of the family in terms of the cognitive capability of people in general?
  2. Is academic success valued so much in the family?
  3. What does the family feel about people pursuing non-academic interests?
  4. Sensory-perception
  1. What is the general view of people with sensory perception challenges?
  2. What is the general view of the family in terms of people with disabilities being side-lined in society?
  3. Are inclusivity and diversity important for the family members and why, or why not?
  4. Self-perception
  1. What is the general family perspective on self-confidence?
  2. What does the family feel about body shaming?
  3. Does the family have experience in dealing with cases of self-esteem among members?
  4. Role relationship
  1. What kind of relationship exists between parents and their children?
  2. Do you think this relationship has shaped who you are today? If yes, how?
  3. Is it possible for children to grow well under harsh family relationships and conditions?
  4. Sexuality
  1. What is the general feeling about sexuality in the family?
  2. How has sexuality been handled in the family?
  3. Do the parents influence the decisions made by the children in the family?
  4. Coping
  1. How do people in the family cope with conflict?
  2. Are there people whose eating habits change when they are under stress in the family?
  3. How does the family unit help its members to cope with the health challenges that could have been prevented?

References

Erdem, G., & Safi, O. A. (2018). The Cultural Lens Approach to Bowen Family Systems Theory: Contributions of Family Change Theory. Journal of family theory & amp, https://doi.org/10.1111/jftr.12258.

Heather, J. (2014). An application of Bowen Family Systems Theory. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 835-841.

Stupart, Y. (2017, November 18). A Guide to Bowen Family Systems Therapy. Retrieved from Health Pro advice: https://healthproadvice.com/mental-health/A-Guide-to-Bowen-Family-Systems-Therapy

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