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Orem’s Theoretical Model

Family assessment involves evaluation of factors that affect families. It may assess the family history, mental health of the family members, and other provisions. It is a continuous process of identifying these factors and making intervention decisions so as to help the family. There are various theories that have been developed to explain the process of family assessment. In this context, Orem’s Self-Care Theory is one of them. Orem’s theory is based on the belief that mature individuals have the abilities to take care of themselves without assistance. However, there are cases when such individuals are unable to meet self-care needs. In such cases, nursing interventions are necessary to assist the individual. Nursing intervention method adopted focuses on the deficits that the individual faces so as to develop a strategy that benefits the individual (Hoeman, 2008).

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In the Orem’s theory, four concepts are important. These incorporate human beings, environment, health, and nursing. The theory describes human beings as composed of physical, psychological, and social characteristics. They have varying degrees of self care capabilities. The environment is composed of two factors. These are the physical, chemical, and biological features as well as socio-economic features. The physical, chemical, and biological features are those around human beings and include the atmosphere, weather, and others. The socio-economic features influence the family and include roles, culture, and so on. These two factors interact and have considerable influence on an individual’s development (Hoeman, 2008).

According to the theory, the terms ‘health’ and ‘healthy’ should be applied to living things only. They refer to when living things are structurally and functionally complete. Consequently, if an individual is fully operational (psychologically and physically) and his/her biologic life is normal hence can relate with other human beings effectively, then the concerned individual is healthy. Therefore, this means that health refers to physical, mental, and social wellbeing. Not simply the absence of illness (Meleis, 2011). Finally, according to the theory, nursing is an art. Caregivers have to provide assistance to incapacitated individuals. Usually, this occurs in a professional manner. Nursing is composed of actions that nurses select to assist people under their care. This is helpful in changing their conditions (Meleis, 2011). This is a critical provision based on its significance with respect to health.

Orem’s theory explains the assessment of families by mainly considering the relationship of factors that affect families. It focuses on the individual as a human being and his relationship with the environment. The concerned environment comprises physical, chemical, and biological features as well as socio-economic features mentioned earlier. These features influence the well-being of individuals in various ways. Additionally, it considers the mental, physical, and psychological health of individuals and the actions of the concerned nurse as a health professional. The theory proposes that the process of family assessment must consider all these factors. Analysis of individuals, environment, familial health, and intervention actions are necessary to achieve success. The theory is logical and generalized; thus, simple to understand and use in the assessment of families. It provides a complete way to nursing and indicates when appropriate intervention is needed. According to the theory, the process of family assessment involves analysis of individuals (human beings) and their immediate environment. It then focuses on the health of individual family members. Finally, the nurse decides on the intervention method as a professional.


Hoeman, S. (2008). Rehabilitation nursing: Prevention, intervention and outcomes. London: Elsevier Mosby.

Meleis, A. (2011). Theoretical nursing: Development and progress. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

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