There are many ways to define family. The traditional definition is a group of related people living together in the same household. Families of today may have only one parent may have a step mother or step father may have adoptive parents, and in some cases may have parents of the same gender (Friedmann, Bowden, & Jones, 2003). Family is a term that can be interpreted differently by different individuals. No matter how a family is described or defined, there is a need for family support, particularly when it pertains to health care. This paper will focus on the importance of family in the health of our society and the application of Dorothea Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Theory. A basic function of the family is health promotion and illness prevention. An illness can affect the whole family (Friedmann, Bowden, & Jones, 2003). The family works together to ease stressors that may affect the health of the family unit. Healthy family systems adapt to these stressors to help alleviate the effects of the stressor on the system. An example may be receiving vaccinations to prevent disease, or healthy lifestyle choices to encourage wellbeing. There are differing concepts of family with reference to family nursing. Friedmann, Bowden, and Jones (2003) identify five concepts of family nursing. These concepts are Family as Context, Family as Sum of its Parts, Family Subsystem as Client, Family as Client, and Family as a Component of Society. The Family as Context focuses on the individual as primary concern and the family is the secondary focus. The nurse may assess the family as part of the patient’s support system but may not include the family in the plan of care. Family as Sum of its Parts is associated with community health nursing where the individual family members (not one individual, but all members individually) are the focus. The Family Subsystem as Client...
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