Heritage Assessment and Healthcare

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Heritage Assessment and Healthcare
H. Rachelle Thompson
Grand Canyon University:
NRS-429V Family-Centered Health Promotion
August 19, 2012

Heritage Assessment and Healthcare
America is a melting pot of different cultures, and with the cultural diversity there comes differences in healthcare traditions and decisions (Racher & Annis, 2007). Whether it’s a religious approach to healthcare or a cultural tradition, everyone has a different approach to his or her health. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the author’s heritage and healthcare traditions, differences in other cultures and their healthcare traditions and the effect that their heritage can have on healthcare, and the importance of assessing the patient’s heritage prior to providing healthcare. Use in Practice

Providing culturally competent care means being understanding of the differences in cultures, respecting those differences, and operating within their beliefs as much as possible (El-Amouri, & O’Neill, 2011). It can be a challenge to care for someone whose ideas of healthcare differ from that of the nurses if the patient’s culture is not understood or the nurse is unaware of the culture, in fact if there are miscommunications in language or understandings it can be detrimental (Amouri & O’Neill, 2011). In order to provide culturally competent care one needs to know the culture or heritage of the patient and their beliefs regarding healthcare; these can both be assessed often upon the first meeting of provider and client. A heritage assessment would be one way that a nurse might be able to further understand what the patients background is and exactly how tied they are to their cultural background. Understanding what a patients heritage is and what personal beliefs they have regarding what healthcare means to them allows the provider to modify the patient care plan so that it has the highest chance of success (Racher & Annis, 2007). It is also important to do the individual assessment because not all people within an ethnicity have the same beliefs, it can vary from region to region, or country to country, not all Hispanics carry the same beliefs so in order to provide individualized care one must find out what the person’s individual beliefs are (Racher & Annis, 2007). Healthcare Across Cultures

Healthcare traditions can vary from culture to culture with some similarities and some large differences. It is important to understand these differences in order to provide culturally competent care. Three families were interviewed in order to obtain information regarding differing healthcare practices: the first was that of the author who is of Anglo-Saxon decent, but is the 5th generation born in America; the second was that of an East Indian family who is the 2nd generation born in America; and thirdly was a Hispanic family who was not born in America. Health Maintenance

Health maintenance can include many things from annual visits with a practitioner to diet and exercise or maybe no action besides daily life. The Anglo-Saxon family has what is considered more traditional healthcare practices. Maintenance includes yearly visits to their physicians for physicals, eye exams, and dental exams. Illnesses are categorized according to seriousness and those that are more serious require physician intervention, while something like the common cold is just waited out. Watching their diet and exercising is an important part of maintaining the family’s health as well. The East Indian family described an inherited view of illness as an imbalance within the body; which Gupta describes as an internal imbalance, or an imbalance of the humors bile, wind, and phlegm (2010). The family does not necessarily seek help for something without trying their own home remedies first, these are often pulled from the belief that illnesses are hot and cold and treatments are also. They have...
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