Biopsychosocial Assignment

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Most people pay very little attention to their health until it lets them down and they find themselves in hospital. It was relevant that a high number of patients that were admitted appeared to be very discouraged and had quite a negative perception towards their illness. During a recent clinical placement I met a patient called Kath who had been living with a chronic illness, Multiple Sclerosis for a vast amount of years. When Kath found herself admitted into hospital with an unrelated condition to that of her multiple sclerosis, her attitude and responses were very different to those of the other patients on the ward. To Kath her health and well being meant living independently and managing her existing condition. Kath also felt that her health and well being included participating in social activities and being there to support her daughters and grandchildren. Kath had an extremely positive reaction to her newly diagnosed condition and did not perceive it as an ‘illness’ more so just another hurdle to overcome.

I will be looking at a bio-psychosocial model to use within this assignment as a holistic perspective in relation to my patient. It is my intention to use the model to critically evaluate the bio psychosocial factors in relation to my chosen patient. It remains important to recognise that both the psychological factors and social factors are addressed as they are just as important as the biological factors in determining the outcome of the patient.

Consent of the patient has been gained prior to this assignment being written. A consent form has been signed and included with this assignment. For the purpose of this assignment I shall name my patient Kath in order to remain within the confidentiality clause of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (2008). The area of practice shall also remain undisclosed.

Kath is a 64 year old lady who has been widowed for 6 years following the loss of her husband, Kath also has 4 daughters. Kath was already living with a chronic illness, secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, with which she had been diagnosed with at the age of 18. Shering (2000) states that “secondary progressive multiple sclerosis being that of MS diagnosed in a young adult in which the severity and frequency of the relapses decreases yet disability slowly increases". Kath admitted that her general health had slowly deteriorated over the years and her mobility had been affected, and she was now confined to a wheelchair. Despite this Kath was determined to continue her life as normal. Kath continued to live alone and lived independently with the ability to continue to look after herself with very little assistance. Her family remained extremely supportive and continued to aid Kath with anything she may need assistance with. Kath mentioned that it was very important to her that she continued to take pride in her appearance. Her relationship with her family was that of a very strong unit and Kath often expressed the closeness she has with her daughters. Kath also spoke about the very active social life she led and was a bit concerned that this hospital admission would interfere with it, this just made Kath all the more determined to sustain a positive attitude towards a swift recovery.

The World Health Organisation (WHO, 1946) defined health “as a state of complete physical, mental and social – well being, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity” (Cowley) (2002, p.45). According to this definition it would deem that Kath had not been healthy since her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis at the age of 18. However, Kath’s perception of health was unlike this described definition. Therefore proving that each individual does not have the same perception of idealistic health, each person has their own definition of health and what makes them feel ‘healthy’.

This definition has been heavily criticised by Dubos (1979) who intimated that the definition eliminates a numerous amount of people...
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