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Family Health Assessment

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Family Health Assessment
The health of a family is a vital part of how that family interacts with one another and how each individual of the family will function in society, later teaching their children about a healthy lifestyle or lack thereof. The family health assessment helps to identify risk factors and potential dysfunction (Edelman, 2014) I interviewed a single parent family home about their health and how they perceive it. This family is an all-male family, an athletic seventeen year old boy getting ready for his senior year, a twenty year old young man, and a hardworking, dedicated, overweight father.
Growing up Robert, the father of this family, was the eldest of three siblings. His parents didn’t give him much to any guidance at all for health and wellbeing. Frequently, his father abused and beat him. Food was always available to him and his parents encouraged him and his siblings to eat when, what and how much they wanted. Currently all three siblings are overweight. As a parent he has pushed the issue of healthy eating and regular exercise as well as their importance to his boys, as he learns more about health, wellness, and nutrition he attempts to teach his boys. They have and do discuss nutrition over meals and while shopping. He tries to teach his boys how to read labels and the consequences of eating without regard to caloric intake, using himself and his brother and sister as examples. Previously he enforced teach back by having his boys cook and prepare meals, hoping that they have learned how to prepare a balanced meal. Robert feels that with healthy eating habits come normal bowel habits. “I can feel the difference when I eat certain foods or do not drink enough water” (Garrett, 2014). Now that the boys are older, it is easier to practice healthier eating habits. When the Garrett boys were younger they were very busy with sports all year long, so preparing healthy well balanced meals was hard for Robert. The boys constantly had some type of sporting event to go from or to. As a teenager he thought of health as his parents taught him, it just wasn’t important. Now as an adult and a parent health and healthy values are considered by him one of the most important things from eating right and getting the right amount of exercise, and regular checkups.
Another part of a healthy lifestyle Robert feels important is activity and rest. The younger men workout about 5 days a week for an average of two hours; while Robert works out an average weekly bases of three days a week for about an hour. Even though activity and exercise is something that is held in high regard in the Garrett home, they only get together as a family once a year to play basketball. When they go to the gym it is usually done separately at different times of the day. Most of their quality time is spent doing sedentary activities such as watching movies, playing video games and taking long drives, although they do regularly swim in the pool together. The Garrett family feels that sleep is just as vital to health as exercise and nutrition. On an average the family gets about seven hours of sleep a night, the goal of eight hours is often missed due to the fact they push themselves to exhaustion staying up late and not having set sleeping hours keeps them from getting the recommended amount of sleep.
As a whole their family learns together and is pretty open. The main source of health education is through Robert. He suggests to the boys that they take health classes in school. As a family he tries to have them watch movies that have a learning experience to them, hoping that they learn at a younger age what he ended up learning at an older age. The family doesn’t often seek the advice of medical professionals “if we aren’t dying there is no need to go to the doctor” (Garrett, 2014). The family instead asks friends or acquaintances that are in the medical field, or asking mom/grandma, even google is used for medical advice and questions. Lifestyle choices are made by looking at past mistakes and using unhealthy family members as examples, such as the ones who are overweight, have diabetes, and high blood pressure. The Garrett family sees themselves as a typical American family in the aspect that health is sacrificed because of the constant need to hurry and hustle. Medical appointments are put off due to other obligations and doctor offices make health care less appealing by the long wait times and feeling of being rushed or pushed out of the office. The perception of health is more prominent in the family now than it was before. “My family sees me as trying to be a health freak. Health is foreign to them, they do not understand passing up and making sacrifices of certain foods and exercising on a regular basis. I come from a long line of unhealthy people; I want my boys to have a more knowledgeable understanding” (Garrett, 2014).
As the head of the household, Robert feels that his role is to be the instructor and the enforcer, using his bad habits ranging from health, sedentary activities, putting off regular checkups, and other lifestyle choices as talking points and examples hoping that will be in the back of his boys’ minds so they don’t make the same mistakes as he did. Robert feels that his role as a provider is to teach and show his children how to take care and provide for themselves, to be responsible for their own self. He counts on his boys to get an education so that they can get a job to provide for themselves and also to help out around the house, learning to clean up after themselves and other people, by doing this they learn their roles as a family. The roles consist of father, son, brother and friends.
Since openness is an integral part of their dynamics, plus it is a house full of testosterone, sex is inferred quite often, but talked about rarely. When Robert was growing up his parents never discussed sex. He was barely a teenager when he had his first sexual experience. He was very irresponsible and uneducated when it came to sexually active until he was about 18 years old. As a father, Mr, Garrett wanted to make sure that his children understood the importance of safe sex. It is important to him to discuss personal matters like sexual education and sex with his young men. He started having conversations and educating them when they were about 12 years old. The topics of discussions included sexually transmitted disease, unwanted pregnancy, and getting in trouble with the law for underage sexual intercourse. He uses close family members as examples as to why it is important to be smart and think ahead as far as being safe and protecting themselves and other people, so they don’t have to deal with the stress of trying to raise a baby. “I don’t feel that my boys understand the magnitude of how stress affects a person’s health. I decided years ago not to stress about certain things, because it’s not worth it” (Garrett, 2014). The Garrett boys were very young when their parents split up, which made things difficult for them growing up. “They knew that our relationship was strained but didn’t understand at that time what was happening. The boys had troubles in school not knowing how to cope with not having a mother in the home” (Garrett, 2014). Years later the boys learned that it was due to their mom’s addiction to alcohol and drugs that caused most of the fighting and arguments. “We just recently talked about it. They didn’t know for many years that their mom had issues with drinking and even overdosed once on methamphetamines” (Garrett, 2014).
Recently the oldest son Robbie died walking to his grandmother’s house. He was hit by a train. Robert and Ryan have been trying to deal with their devastating loss of such a close part of their daily lives. Their newest struggle is dealing with the grief. Incorporating health into his and his boys’ lives has always been a goal for Robert. He has tried to use positive examples for his boys that his parents did not set for him. Some areas are lacking in education and others thriving. Now he is trying to prove to be a positive role model to the young men that were his sons friends through his sons death. Nursing diagnosis that I would give to this family based on the above assessment would be:
1. Readiness for Enhanced Grieving- losing his oldest son.
2. Ineffective Health Maintenance- not getting regular check ups.
3. Risk for Disturbed Sleep Pattern- Sleeps at different times, not having a set schedule for sleeping.
4. Caregiver Role Strain- being a single parent for so many years, raising two boys alone.
References
Edelman, Kudzma, Mandle, Carole, Elizabeth, Carol. Health Promotion Throughout the Life Span. 8th Edition. Mosby, 2014. VitalBook file. Pageburst Online.
Garrett, R. (2014, April 15). Personal Interview
Weber, J. R. (2005). Nurses' Handbook of Health Assessment, 5th Edition. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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