In this paper, we will look at three families that I have selected and evaluate their heritages via the Heritage Assessment Tool. We will also discuss the usefulness of applying the said tool to evaluate the needs of families and develop plans for health maintenance, health protection, and health restoration and identify common health traditions based on cultural heritage.
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The Saccaro Family
As a person of Italian heritage living in America, Enzo Saccaro does not follow Italian health traditions much. The World Health Organization lists Italy in its top 10 countries with the highest quality of health services. Despite this fact, many medical facilities are still having funding problems and sometimes are overcrowded. The private medical sector (“assicurazione sulla salute”) only treats the patients who have private medical insurance.
Sometimes there is no chance to see private physicians, especially if you live in a small town. The major problem with Italy’s health care system is in the fact that hospitals and the best medical professionals are only accessible in large cities. Both of Enzo’s parents live in Milan, so they are covered by private medical insurance and do not have any problems finding quality medical help. We can say that they are enjoying the system’s benefits quite nicely which would have been completely different if they lived in a rural area. Enzo uses the benefits of the American health care system and says that, although it did get some time to get used to, it does not make him miss the Italian health care conditions too much.
The Dalton Family
Keiko Makishima claims that she is satisfied with the American health care traditions, but she feels like they could learn a trick or two from the Japanese healthcare system. She says that the provision of health care services by local and the national governments is convenient and reasonable, especially when it implies free examinations for everyone and governmentally set fees. She says that equality in providing medical services is something countries should strive for the most.
The international approach helps to achieve this goal: nowadays Japanese hospitals invite English-speaking surgeons, physicians, and therapists, expanding the scope of multinational communication within the system. As Keiko puts it, “It’s simply adorable.”
What the U.S. health care system could try to avoid, however, is a common Japanese habit of over-prescribing as many medical professionals in Japan tend to do it. This practice is supposed to be illegal; however, the Japanese government still cannot fully eliminate this problem.
Overall, Keiko seems to be more content with healthcare in the U.S. than her husband Roy who often expresses mistrust of medical facilities due to his religious beliefs.
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The Ellinberg Family
Bert Ellinberg, and the wife, Susan Mack, are both of Jewish heritage and both consider the United States a country that still has a lot to learn about healthcare.
They noted that the U.S. is not even in the top ten on the World Health Organization’s list mentioned earlier, which means that, despite all the financing, the health care system in the country is still far from being top-notch.
Bert and Susan say that healing is in the Jewish blood, and this is supposedly why Jewish people make the best doctors. It is a tradition stemming from theological texts and carrying its message throughout the centuries to the present day. Unlike many other branches of Christianity and other religions, Judaism never persecuted medical knowledge and never considered it defying God’s will. It was always normal for rabbis to be physicians, for example. Probably, for this reason, the idea of the importance of health care was imprinted in Jewish minds since ancient times.
Bert and Susan go to Israel almost every year for recreation, so they have a good opportunity to observe the current health care tendencies in the country. Given the current conditions, there are a lot of problems like limited financing, increased hospital overflow rate, and a shortage of personnel. However, the system somehow manages to stay one of the most efficient in the world, ranking number eight in the World Health Organization’s list as of 2014. Bert and Susan claim that this happens because “healing simply comes naturally” to Israeli people.
The Heritage Assessment Tool Review
The Heritage Assessment Tool is convenient in terms of understanding families’ origins, but it completely does not estimate any individual characteristics of the subjects. We might gain some information from these people’s ethnic and religious background, but, essentially, we do not find out anything about them as individuals with certain heritage, for example, how these facts influence their everyday life, what they find positive or negative about them, how other people treat them because of these facts, how it all directly affects their health, etc. (Larsson, Starrin, & Wilde, 1991) I do not think that learning about participation in ethnic activities and preparation of ethnic foods give a wide enough scope of what these families are about or what their views on the health care are (Whirehead, 2006).
Frequently, I had to make up my questions during the interview because the answers to the ones given in the tool form were not sufficient (e.g. I had to ask the Dalton girls what they think about Roy taking them to church every Sunday and how it affects their relationships at home).
Health Maintenance, Health Protection, and Health Restoration
As all of the subjects are mostly modern, reasonable people, they rely on medical facilities and qualified physicians in terms of health maintenance, health protection, and health restoration. Roy Dalton, however, is a bit of an exception as he sometimes believes in unscientific causes when we speak about illnesses. He stated that the initial reason behind all the ailments comes from the “heart being doubtful,” clarifying that if individual doubts he is healthy, he or she will eventually become ill.
Jewish Health & Healing Practices. My Jewish Learning. (2016). Web.
Larsson, G., Starrin, B., & Wilde, B. (1991). Contributions of Stress Theory to the Understanding of Helping. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 5, 79-85.
Whitehead, D. (2006). Health Promotion and Health Education: Advancing the Concepts. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 3(4), 165-184.