Family Health Nursing

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Family Health Nursing Paper
The family, what can be more important to an individual than ones own family? "Families serve as the basic social unit of society." (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2004, p. 563) This paper will discuss the family, its importance for nurses, how the family has changed from the traditional nuclear family and will attempt to paint a picture of what a family is today. Additionally the author of this paper will define family health nursing. Why is the family an important focus for nurses?

The family is an important focus for nurses for many reasons two of which will be highlighted in this paper. Many illnesses such as heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, and asthma are known to follow genetic lines. "Understanding a patient's biologic family history often helps to diagnose unusual or rare conditions and the use of DNA testing and other laboratory screening tests can identify family members who are considered at high-risk. Once a family has been identified with strong genetic ties to a particular disease, a plan of care can be established which will include a great deal of education with the goal of primary prevention, regular screenings, and education. Intensive measures can then be taken to make early diagnoses or even prevent the disease in an effort to reduce morbidity and mortality" (Medalie & Cole-Kelly, 2002). A recent report by the Institute of Medicine as quoted by Denham (2003) suggests "patient-centered care addresses the need to manage smooth transitions from one setting to another or from a health care to a self-care setting." Once a patient is discharged following a hospitalization due to an acute or chronic illness he or she will need assistance to recuperate and recover to their highest level of functioning. When acute or chronic illness strikes a family member, the roles of family members often change from mother, spouse, or sister to caregiver. The family can assist the patient with simple tasks such as diet,...
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