This paper reports the results of a family health assessment done on an African American family of five living in a nucleus setup. The family is headed by a 49-year-old woman since the man, who is in his early fifties, is currently unemployed. Although their three children are over 18-years-old, only one of them has managed to get full-time employment in a local company. The other two undertake menial jobs within the neighborhood.
Summary of Findings
In the area of values and health perception, the family head reported that, although she understood the importance of taking frequent health examinations, it was difficult to do so due to inadequate financial resources and lack of health insurance. However, she demonstrated positive health perceptions and knowledge of her family’s health status by acknowledging that they rely on various news outlets and community-based support systems to maintain good overall health. On medications, the family head admitted that her husband was taking drugs for hypertension.
In the area of nutrition, the family head acknowledged that she was experiencing difficulties providing a healthy nutritional routine for her family due to financial constraints, though she demonstrated ample knowledge of what a healthy nutritional routine entails. She also admitted that most of the time they eat at home, though on occasions she is forced to eat out due to her extremely busy schedule. When asked to explain what type of foods the family ate, it was clear that fruits and vegetables were not a priority to the family due to financial difficulties. These observations confirm the assertion made by Trude et al. (2016) that most African American families have poor dietary habits due to their low socioeconomic status, hence they are exposed to lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension.
In the functional area of sleep or rest, the family head reported that all the other members of the family except the permanently employed child and herself had adequate sleep of between six and eight hours per night. She explained that, due to the nature of their work, they sometimes slept for four to five hours per night as they arrived home late and were supposed to wake up very early in the morning for work. This, in her view, had negative psychological and mental problems as she acknowledged feeling exhausted and anxious during the days she slept for four hours. The same case applied to the permanently working sibling, giving credence to the assertion that lack of adequate sleep lowers one’s quality of life and may lead to psychological and/or mental problems (Almklov, Drummond, Orff, & Alhassoon, 2015). The family head reported that sometimes her husband suffered from sleep disturbances due to the hypertension medication.
No major problems were noted in the area of elimination as the patterns acknowledged by the family head were within the healthy range and the frequency of visiting the bathroom at night (at least once per night) was also healthy. However, in the functional area of activity or exercise, a worrying trend was noted as the family did not have any exercise routine and the two unemployed children reported playing video games for up to six hours per day. The father, who was sick with hypertension, did not have any exercise regimen and only relied on the prescribed medications to manage the condition.
The family head reported that, although she led a physically active life due to the nature of her work, she had not considered having an exercise routine. The issues observed in this functional area were consistent with the assertions that have been made by several researchers (e.g. Sebastiao, Chodzko-Zajko, & Schwingel, 2015; Whitt-Glover et al., 2014) that most African Americans are yet to internalize physical exercises as an essential component of a healthy lifestyle, hence continue to suffer from avoidable lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, stroke, obesity, and hypertension.
No major issues were noted in the area of cognition, as the family head reported that the family was health literate since all members had attained a junior college degree. As reported elsewhere, the family devoted ample time to listening to news and reading community-based health resources to keep abreast of major health issues affecting the African American community; however, the family head acknowledged that timely evaluation of sickness was sometimes difficult as members had different engagements during the day.
In the sensory-perception area, the family head reported that she had reinforced in her children strong communication and interpersonal skills that enabled them to live together as a close-knit family. Everyone showed affection for each other as demonstrated during the interview process, whereby it was noticed that the children had deep love and affection for their father despite his unemployment status. Good communication relationships and the close-knit structure helped the family to cope with difficult situations. It was further revealed that all family members, including the ailing father, had functional senses that helped them in their daily living.
No major issues were noted in self-perception as all family members (except the ailing father) reported feeling good and relaxed most of the time. The father reported being engulfed with feelings of anxiety and depression due to his hypertension, while one of the unemployed children acknowledged that he sometimes felt distracted and nervous due to the unemployment status.
In role relationship, it was clear from the onset that the family enjoyed a cordial and mutually fulfilling relationship under the careful direction of the mother, who happened to be the family head by virtue of her employment status. However, she acknowledged that the opinions, insights, and reservations of each family member are taken into consideration when making important family decisions. The father played the role of the arbitrator in situations of conflict, particularly among the three children.
In sexuality, the family head acknowledged that she always encourages open discussions in matters related to sex and sexuality and that her children had learned a lot from the open discussion forums. However, the issue of practicing safe relationships presented some challenges as two of her children said that they did not always use protection when engaging in sexual activities because they trusted their partners. Overall, however, the children interacted positively with members of the opposite sex.
Lastly, in the functional area of coping, the family head acknowledged that the family always relied on the local church pastor and community support systems to overcome any stressful occurrences. She noted that she relied on the church congregation to grieve the passing of her mother, which was the most stressful situation for her. Further, she acknowledged that the family normally holds open forums on Sundays to discuss various life events, one of them being how to deal with stressful events.
Wellness Nursing Diagnosis
Drawing from the interview summary, it is clear that the family demonstrates readiness for eating a balanced diet but is experiencing financial difficulties due to its low social-economic status. It is also clear that the family demonstrates readiness to take frequent health examinations but is constrained by inadequate financial resources and a lack of health insurance. Lastly, the family demonstrates readiness to have a healthy sleep pattern but some of the members are constrained by busy work schedules.
Almklov, E.L., Drummond, S.P.A., Orff, H., & Alhassoon, O.M. (2015). The effects of sleep deprivation on brain functioning in older adults. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 13, 324-345. doi: Web.
Sebastiao, E., Chodzko-Zajko, W., & Schwingel, A. (2015). An in-depth examination of perceptions of physical activity in regularly active and insufficiently active older African American women: A participatory approach. PLoS ONE, 10(10), 1-15. Web.
Trude, A.C.B., Kharmats, A.Y., Hurley, K.M., Steeves, E.A., Telegawkar, S.A., Gittelsohn, J., & Anderson, S.E. (2016). Household, psychosocial, and individual-level factors associated with fruit, vegetable, and fiber intake among low-income urban African American youth. BMC Public Health, 16(1), 1-10. Web.
Whitt-Glover, M.C., Keith, N.R., Ceaser, T.G., Virgil, K., Ledford, L., & Hasson, R.E. (2014). A systematic review of physical activity interventions among African American adults: Evidence from 2009 to 2013. Obesity Reviews, 15(1), 125-145. Web.