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Patient Assessment, Health Patterns and Family Characteristics

How should you use Gordon’s Functional Health Patterns to assess individual health? What health screening interventions do you regularly participate in?

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Gordon’s Functional Health Patterns present a valuable framework for evaluating a patient by a nurse. An individual’s health assessment may begin with the identification of living conditions, background, and other peculiarities to determine the immediate specific goals (Edelman, Mandle, & Kudzma, 2013). Applying health patterns of the mentioned model, one can identify obstacles that can also be translated into the expected health outcomes. In this way, nurses can continue to use their skills by performing a functional analysis of health schemes as part of a development-oriented rehabilitation process. In other words, these patterns may be used to conduct a comprehensive patient evaluation and focus on such aspects as nutrition, activity, sleep, cognition, stress-tolerance, value-beliefs, and so on. Using Gordon’s Functional Health Patterns step by step, a nurse receives both objective and subjective data about a patient under examination. Since the above model integrates various human body systems, its use is likely to help a nurse in composing a full picture regarding a patient’s health.

While applying Gordon’s Functional Health Patterns, a nurse is usually engaged in such health screening interventions as breast self-examination or cardiovascular assessment. The latter is especially important for people with sedentary lifestyles and family history with cardiovascular diseases (Edelman et al., 2013). In general, the use of the identified model implies the basic screening tests aimed at prevention and early detection of different health problems. The consideration of potential health risks and chronic conditions also affects the selection of screening for a particular patient. The role of a nurse is to determine these factors and choose a proper option that would fit the needs and expectations of a patient to improve his or her health outcomes.

What family characteristics may contribute to potential or actual dysfunctional health patterns?

Family characteristics may significantly promote either potential or actual dysfunctional health patterns. One of the characteristics refers to family relationships. In case they are rather stressful and tense, some family members may observe some problems with sleep rest patterns that can be expressed in insomnia, sleep deprivation, and difficulties with relaxation. Furthermore, in case of acute insomnia, there is a potential dysfunction associated with a feeling of a lack of sleep and fatigue along with increased anxiety and heart problems. The role-relationship pattern is another area that can be impacted by weak family relationships, dissatisfaction with family roles, or substance abuse may cause potential and actual dysfunctional health patterns. One more factor refers to family developmental tasks, while the failure to fulfill them leads to actual dysfunction. The result of the above dysfunction is psychological problems

Sexuality and reproduction characteristics are also quite important for health patterns in a family. In particular, biologic and lifestyle factors may interfere a family’s well-being. If the pattern of values and believes acts improperly, there is a potential risk of the failure to follow the perspective of a family (Kaakinen, Coehlo, Steele, Tabacco, & Hanson, 2014). This means that families that do not support their cultural background along with traditions and practices are more prone to negative health patterns. It is possible to note the perception of adulthood and parenthood as well. Those families that are unfamiliar with their history and expectations regarding marriage and other related issues acquire both actual and potential dysfunctional patterns. The role parents in a family should also be clearly determined and be clear to all members as parental influence forms emotional, cognitive, and physical development of children along with other factors.


Edelman, C. L., Mandle, C. L., & Kudzma, E. C. (2013). Health promotion throughout the life span (8th ed.). New York, NY: Elsevier Health Sciences.

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Kaakinen, J. R., Coehlo, D. P., Steele, R., Tabacco, A., & Hanson, S. M. H. (2014). Family health care nursing: Theory, practice, and research (5th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: FA Davis.

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