Comprehensive Health Assessment
Health assessment is the first step in the nursing process. The purpose of a health assessment is to collect information on patient's health status, obtain baseline information, support system at home, evaluate patient environment, to discover the actual problem, and assess factors that place the patient at increased risk for health problems. Mosby medical dictionary describe health assessment as “an evaluation of the health status of an individual by performing a physical examination after obtaining a health history. Various laboratory tests will be ordered to confirm a clinical impression or to screen for dysfunction. The depth of investigation and the frequency of the assessment vary with the condition and age of the client and the facility in which the assessment is performed. The person's response to any dysfunction present is observed and noted.” (Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 8th edition. © 2009, Elsevier). When collecting information for a comprehensive assessment, nurses use both subjective and objective data. Nurses use several different sources to obtain information by means of observation, lab values, vital signs, chart review, other health care professionals and most important the patient or family members. Patients and family provide very useful information such as current medication, past surgical and medical history, cultural beliefs and any other prudent information related to patient care. By collecting the information it gives nurses a chance to familiar themselves with individual culture beliefs and form a treatment plan that includes cultural information to care for each individual patient to aid in providing the appropriate care. Certain conditions appear to be more prevalent in different cultures. In the African American culture, there are several high-risk health factors, which include cardiovascular disease, hypertension, elevated cholesterol levels, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and stroke. Due to their social economic status, access to health care may be limited; most times patients of this culture go to the doctor for sickness and never preventive care. Through generation, several cultural forms of treatment have been use, which includes folk medicine, voodoo, herbs, and witchcraft, and if unsuccessful then they seek medical help. Mr. Henry Comprehensive Health Assessment Mr. Chuck Henry is an African American male a native of Michigan, who has no recoverable medical history or religious beliefs noted. He is fifty-five years old and weighs 210lbs, blood pressure 160/96. After working in an auto plant for his entire career, he has been laid off a year short of retirement. The severance package he received, and his health insurance the family has is soon to run out. He has reported that he has been having recurring headaches, insomnia and elevated blood pressure. Mr. Henry has had a lack of self; due to financial his problems, his age, current health condition and his lacking resume are holding him back from finding another job. Because of his financial problems, the Henry’s are unable to pay for his and his wife medical bills and prescriptions. Mr. Henry states, “That between medical and prescription bills for Tameka and himself, he doesn’t know where to turn”. He has also shared concerned that his children do not want to come around, because they consider him and his wife to be depressing. During the assessment Mr. Henry seems to be concerned about his financial problems, and the security and welfare of his family. In order to conduct a comprehensive health assessment of Mr. Henry, it is important for the nurse to take time out to do a self-reflection of his or her own values, “awareness of the nurse’s personal beliefs is vital in relating to clients from diverse cultural backgrounds” (Boone, 2005 p. 34). By understanding his or her own values, it would allow the nurse to keep an open mind when caring for a patient of different culture. It is...
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