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Family Health History Risk Assessment in Diverse Care Settings

The human environment and health patterns predisposition serve as major factors in terms of health assessment. People, depending on their relationship with family, lifestyle, and genetic health patterns, can frequently predefine various health issues by assessing the overall health conditions of the family members. When identifying the health status of the family, it is not the historic risk assessment that matters the most. Researchers claim that even cultural environment and behavioral patterns affect the overall family health (Kaakinen, Coehlo, Steele, & Robinson, 2018). In order to examine the statement in practice, a family interview concerning their lifestyle and health behavior was conducted. The purpose of this paper is to provide a full-scale assessment of the answers given in terms of the family’s health issues and areas for improvement. Another primary goal of the assignment is to correlate the current family health condition with the patterns of their cultural and behavioral patterns.

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Family Structure

The family, which will be examined in further discussion, consists of four members: a 42-year-old father, a 40-year-old mother, and two children – a 19-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl. Speaking of the family’s race and ethnicity, they are White Americans, with the father having a Hispanic origin. The family members are typical representatives of the middle class: the father works as a real estate manager, and the mother is a primary school teacher. The son is a sophomore at an art college, and the daughter graduates public high school next year. Both parents were raised in Roman Catholic families, but they do not consider themselves religious people, so the children cannot relate themselves to any belief. When it comes to the environment, both workplaces and neighborhoods are satisfying and safe. However, the daughter’s environment in public school is dangerous and needs frequent parental supervision. Thus, family structure and environment are relatively safe in terms of health assessment.

Current Family Health

Speaking of the family’s current health status, all the members can be considered healthy except for minor allergies. However, it was established in the course of the interview that both parents have a strong predisposition for chronic diseases. Agnatically, men in the father’s family, have a relatively high risk of heart diseases, including stroke and arrhythmia. The mother’s ancestors had a severe predisposition to diabetes. As both parents have stressful jobs, and these diseases can appear due to a high stress level, they should pay more attention to their health in order to stay healthy. The same attitude should be applied to the children, as the risk is caused predominantly by genes. The frequency of common cold is low, but the daughter has a weak immune system since early childhood and hence, needs to take courses of vitamins more often than other family members. Thus, it may be concluded that the overall health state of the family is only satisfactory on the condition of regular medical examinations.

Functional Health Patterns

Throughout the interview, family members were asked thirty-three open-ended questions concerning various aspects of their lives. Such elements are called functional health patterns, which were developed in 1987 by Marjorie Gordon to help nurses collect exhaustive data for a health assessment (Karaca, 2016). Regarding the results received from the interview, although each of these patterns affects the overall health status, the most influential among them are the ones related to cognitive, coping, and health perception.

Health perception pattern deals with how people see the key to the wellbeing and healthy lifestyle and, thus, helps estimate the level of personal health awareness and one’s areas of weakness. Cognitive perception is related to the previous pattern, but it is more focused on human awareness concerning the necessity of certain medical procedures and their influence on the human body. Coping perception implies ways to deal with stressful events as well as to estimate the proper level of stress resistance (Korver et al., 2020). As the vast majority of stressful situations serve as a perfect environment for disease development, it is crucial to define how to eliminate stress. In the course of the interview, it was established that the family has problems with cognitive and coping aspects. Another important issue concerns risk assessment and its perception by the family members.

The major health problem identified during the interview was the parents’ predisposition for chronic diseases. In such situations, risk assessment is crucial in order to be able to take proper preventative measures to stay healthy. Researchers claim that history-based risk assessment is the key to living a healthy life without genetic implications (Wu et al., 2019). The awareness of an unhealthy lifestyle outcome may encourage parents to take better care of themselves and their children. Speaking of barriers to health, family members have some issues in terms of cognitive perception and stress resistance. As all of the family members deal with stress both at work and in school without any medical interventions, they are at risk of having chronic illnesses in the near future. The cognitive aspect, dealing with the necessity of regular medical examination, lacks knowledge for all the family members.

Family Systems Theory

As it was shown in the course of assessment that family as a unit plays a crucial role in the health status of its members, significant positive changes could be implemented through the family systems theory. The theory proves that once family members can maintain both personal health and collectiveness, they will achieve the appropriate level of differentiation of self and, consequently, improve their health (Erdem & Safi, 2018). If to implement this theory to family life, both parents and children will be able to take care of personal health while maintaining a healthy environment within the family.

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In the course of interviewing a family that did not have any serious health implications at first, it was estimated that there still are some issues that require medical intervention. Although there are no evident threats to the members’ health conditions, they still need to reconsider their lifestyle and relationship inside the family. Hence, the implementation of family systems theory may be of great help in the context of both psychological and physical mutual support.


Erdem, G., & Safi, O. A. (2018). The cultural lens approach to Bowen family systems theory: Contributions of family change theory. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 10(2), 469-483.

Kaakinen, J. R., Coehlo, D.P., Steele, R., & Robinson, M. (2018). Family health care nursing: Theory, practice, and research. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company.

Karaca, T. (2016). Functional health patterns model – a case study. Case Studies Journal, 5(7), 14-22.

Korver, S., Geurtsen, G. J., Hollak, C. E. M., van Schaik, I. N., Longo, M. G. F., Lima, M. R., … Langeveld, M. (2020). Depressive symptoms in Fabry disease: The importance of coping, subjective health perception and pain. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases, 15(28).

Wu, R. R., Myers, R. A., Sperber, N., Voils, C. I., Neuner, J., McCarty, C., … Orlando, L.A. (2019). Implementation, adoption, and utility of family health history risk assessment in diverse care settings: Evaluating implementation processes and impact with an implementation framework. Genet Med., 21(2), 331-338.

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