Over the past few decades, developed countries have experienced an increase in the number of immigrants who are in search for better living standards, employment opportunities, seeking asylum, and refuge from war-stricken areas. This way, immigration creates interaction between people from different cultural diversities. Unfortunately, as the population of immigrants continues to increase, medical practitioners such as doctors, and nurses are faced with enormous challenges while trying to provide adequate medical services. Some of the major reasons are that there are relationships between health and cultural perspectives which influence people about how they view birth, death, and seek treatment as well as how they take medication. These challenges create misunderstanding and miscommunication between the patient and caregivers which leads to conflict, life-threatening diseases, and eventually death. Therefore, to counter these challenges, healthcare practitioners have been forced to adopt methods such as the use of heritage assessment tools. For instance, when a caregiver is dealing with families from America, Kenya, and Brazil, the heritage assessment tool helps to evaluate how different people protect and restore their cultural beliefs; it makes them feel respected and creates a sense of belonging which fastens the recovery process.
Usefulness of applying the Heritage Assessment Tool to Evaluate the Needs of Families
In the healthcare profession, the primary responsibility of a nurse is to ensure patients are comfortable while they are receiving treatment. This creates a favorable environment for their recovery process. One of the ways to address the wellbeing of the patients is to first respect or have an understanding of their cultural beliefs. Since heritage influences the way in which people relate with each other or live, therefore, it significantly affects a family’s healthcare decisions (Spector, 2001). It is for this reason the heritage assessment tool is essential since it helps to analyze different aspects of the patient and make the caregiver not conflict with the beliefs of those seeking medical attention.
Through the heritage assessment tool, the medical practitioners are able to identify those patients with limited English proficiency and may require an interpreter to avoid miscommunication. The tool also helps to provide respectful care because it makes the patients feel their preferences, values, and beliefs are well considered. It also makes the healthcare service culturally sensitive because it provides the healthcare professional with knowledge of heritage assessment and knows how to develop constructive attitudes depending on the ethnic background of their clients. Additionally, the heritage tool makes the caregiver culturally competent because they are able to know the immigration status of the patients, social factors affecting them, cultural differences and similarities (Spector, 2001). This way, the nurses or doctors can attain a foundation and perspective on how to commence or organize the treatment process. This helps them in the delivery of quality healthcare services and to achieve positive patient outcomes.
American Family Interview
The American family seemed to be from the Native American population because their grandparents were born in America. From the interview, it is worth to note that the American family strongly values their spiritual beliefs and their family at large. Since the interviewed individual grew up in the rural areas, there is a probability that their other relatives had relocated to urban areas. They believe that illness is caused by spiritual problems, negative thinking, and unhealthy lifestyle. They also believe for one to maintain good health, one must undergo through purifying rituals which also protect the body and prepare it for actual healing (Mulkey, Lacock, and Scott, 2004). However, because the family seems to be from a religious background and they also prepare traditional foods, there is a likelihood that they use herbal medicines for restoration purposes
Brazilian Family Interview
The individual interviewed from the Brazilian family confirmed that people in that cultural background have strong ties with their extended family members. They communicate and visit each other regularly. The interview also shows that the Brazilian families are still attached to their ethnic traditions which are influenced by historical and cultural viewpoints. As a result, they may affect health maintenance because the individual must make a choice between seeking medical help or follow traditionally prescribed health treatment (Napier, Ancarno, Butler, Calabrese, Chater, Chatterjee, and Macdonald, 2014). Another notable aspect is that since the family has a strong religious background, there is a likelihood that they assume illness as a result of bad luck or God’s punishment. On the other hand, for restoration purposes, the family is likely to use herbal medicines and rituals.
Kenyan Family Interview
The Kenyan family shows they have a strong religious background. According to the interviewee, doing God’s will and believing in him as well as maintaining bodily hygiene are ways that help to maintain good health. Although the interview can also tell the Kenyans are also attached to their traditional practices, they engage in healthcare protection activities as well prayers for divine intervention (Napier, Ancarno, Butler, Calabrese, Chater, Chatterjee, and Macdonald, 2014). When the illness persists, the interview shows that the family is likely to first seek prayers for recovery purposes and then proceed to the hospital for medical assistance.
Common Health Traditions Based on Cultural Heritage
Markedly, families can be from the same culture but fail to share the same cultural believes and rituals. However, from the three interviews, it is clear that most cultural backgrounds believe in prayers. Although most of the communities agree to seek medical help when their condition persists, they believe one cannot attain or maintain good health without God’s intervention (Mulkey, Lacock, and Scott, 2004). They also respect the fact that regular medical checkup from a qualified medical practitioner is important to maintain good health.
How Families Subscribe to the Traditions and Practices
In all the interviews, it is evident that the family setting plays a significant role in one’s health status. When people are close to their families, they are they will recover much faster in case of an illness. Therefore, it is advisable for medical practitioners to request family members to visit their sick relatives regularly, pray together, and perform other traditional rituals that may give hope, faith, and confidence that they will recover soon (Napier, Ancarno, Butler, Calabrese, Chater, Chatterjee, and Macdonald, 2014). Additionally, when patients are visited in the hospital, they do not feel isolated, they feel relevant and feel loved which creates a sense of belonging. As a result, it fastens the patient’s recovery process.
Over the years, high-income countries have been experiencing an increase in the number of immigrants. This is due to conflicts, search for better living standards, and employment opportunities. Therefore, medical practitioners are faced with enormous challenges in their attempt to deliver effective and adequate health care services because most of their patients come from different cultural backgrounds. Therefore, it is important for caregivers to make use of heritage assessment tools so that they have an understanding of their cultural beliefs. When a caregiver is dealing with families from different countries such as America, Kenya, and Brazil, the heritage assessment tool helps to evaluate how different people protect and restore their cultural beliefs; it makes them feel respected and creates a sense of belonging which fastens the recovery process.
1. Mulkey, P., Lacock, M., & Scott, K. (2004). guidelines for health care providers interacting with american indian patients and their families. Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council: Chicago, IL, USA.
2. Napier, A. D., Ancarno, C., Butler, B., Calabrese, J., Chater, A., Chatterjee, H., … & Macdonald, A. (2014). Culture and health. The Lancet, 384(9954), 1607-1639. Retrieved from https://ckh.gu.se/digitalAssets/1503/1503468_the-lancet—culture-and-health.pdf
3. Spector, R. E. (2001). Heritage assessment. Cultura de los cuidados, Año V, n. 9 pp. 71-81. Retrieved from https://rua.ua.es/dspace/bitstream/10045/5076/1/CC_09_11.pdf