The family under analysis is Jose Laria.
The family is composed of five members, four of whom are currently sharing one house. One of the family members, the oldest son, has left home a year ago to start living independently and is renting an apartment in the same city at the moment. The family includes two parents (a mother and a father), two children (both male, one of who is a school student and the other – a college student), and one grandparent – a grandmother of 77 years old. The extended family includes one aunt and one uncle each of whom has children of their own, but these relatives have their own households.
The ethnic background of the family is Latino. Besides, the family has strong religious values.
The Jose Laria family belongs to a middle class, both parents are working, and the level of income of the family is average so the family cannot be called poor or rich.
Leisure time activities of the family are versatile. For example, all of the family members enjoy attending church on Sundays; this activity is treated seriously and is conducted of all the family members together in one group. Besides, the family values social interactions with friends. They maintain friendly relationships with neighbors and some other families most of whom are also of Latino origin. The family often participates in gatherings, receives guests, or visits other households.
Developmental and Environmental Data
According to the approach of Kreppner and Lerner (2013), the Jose Laria family is in the fourth stage of family development. According to Kreppner and Lerner (2013), this development includes 4 general stages which are characterized by the inner dynamics of families. For example, the first stage refers to new couples without children, the second one includes couples with children of pre-school or school age, the third stage is families raising adolescents, and the fourth stage is related to older and retired couples. Jose Maria’s family can be characterized as a family in the 4th stage of development since one of the children has already left home. This stage is also referred to as the “launching center”. In other words, the family is experiencing the time when it is required to help the children begin their independent life. Normally, this stage starts from the moment when the first child leaves home to start living on their own and ends when the last of the children move on to living independently.
Even though one of the children of the Jose Laria family lives outside of the parent’s home, the family cannot be fully characterized as facing the “empty nest” stage because the younger son still attends high school and lives with his parents. Based on this feature, the family can be viewed as positioned in the middle of its developmental stage, the phase of launching the children into adult life is incomplete and the parents are in the process of preparing their younger son for independence.
The nuclear family of Jose Laria consists of a wife and a husband. They have been together for twenty-three years. Currently, they are both employed. The history of their relationship started when they were very young. The relationship between the spouses has its ups and downs. The couple used to have issues handling their dissatisfaction with each other by being silent about it. As a result, sudden outbursts of anger occurred often and in many cases led to lengthy periods of cold silence. During the last few years, the spouses have learned to communicate more openly with each other and express feelings in a calmer way.
Both parents are descendants of Mexican immigrants. The grandmother who shared home with the spouses and their son was originally born in Mexico and at the age of 17 moved to the United States. Both spouses were born in the US, and so were their two sons, yet all of them are bilingual.
The house where the family lives is rather simple without much decoration, but it is very neat and always clean. Ever since the children were little, the mother has established strict discipline when it comes to cleaning up and maintaining order at home.
Financially, the parents provide for their younger son, while the elder son lives, studies, and works independently trying to be helpful for the aging parents. The grandparent receives the support of all the other members that have personal income, besides, she has her own pension.
Family Structure and Functions
Over the last few years communicational patterns between family members improved, the spouses stopped engaging in verbal fights as often, the parents are promoting open and honest communication. The younger son is slightly locked up and does not communicate often; his personal life is a secret. The communication between mother and grandmother is very close, as well as between grandmother and the eldest son.
The family has a patriarchal build where the father is the leader, yet the mother seems to be an informal leader when it comes to decisions about household and major financial solutions.
Spiritually, all of the family members are devoted to their religion. Practically, they are very hard-working people dedicated to their jobs, having a job and being useful for the family is very valuable.
The parents developed the children’s orientation towards good and profitable careers emphasizing that work is an extremely important aspect of life, children were assigned household duties ever since a young age, discipline was also very important.
Family members are very affectionate with each other, there have been no reserved emotions when the children were little, but as they became older they became more private.
The family recently lost one member – an uncle died from a heart attack. The members coped with the stress of supporting each other. They spent a lot of time together, even the eldest son moved back home for two weeks.
Health Care Function
Personal hygiene is viewed as the key to health, each of the family members is very serious about personal hygiene, they value a clean home and avoid oversharing objects (such as combs, makeup, bottles) with one another and the other individuals.
The family is reluctant about going to a doctor, they prefer to cope with the health issues at home, they do not believe in calling an ambulance “over nothing”, so there is a chance that some unaddressed health issues may be facing the members of Jose Laria family, and that these people might not even be aware of the risks.
The father of the family is a smoker, but he does not expose the other family members to passive smoking because he never smokes inside. The mother’s teeth are rather weak, but the family cannot afford to address this issue properly. A grandmother is slightly overweight, has blood pressure issues. The younger son has bad vision and has to wear glasses.
As mentioned before an uncle recently died of a heart attack, so heart diseases my run in the family. Besides, grandmother has developed diabetes when she turned 65.
The family’s general idea of health care services is based on their cost, the members are well-aware that they cannot afford to be seriously ill, this is why they often avoid going to a doctor when they have health problems.
During the family assessment, I realized a number of different things. For example, the power of parental influence on the children in the questions of health and attitude towards illness became clear to me. The children that have not been to a hospital often, have not had regular health checks are likely to be reluctant to visit a doctor regularly when they grow up. Besides, the importance of the basics of personal hygiene taught by the parents also became clear to me as I realized that a family is to be over open about hygiene questions regardless of how private they may be as this is the key to the future health of an individual. Moreover, as stated by Davis and Gustafson (2014), families’ income is a determinant of their level of health because families with limited financial support are often underserved, which is partly demonstrated by the Jose Laria family’s inability to solve some of the health issues due to insufficient income.
I define a family as a multidimensional cell that can be both a client of a nursing specialist and a caregiver. In most families the health conditions of different members vary, as a result, one family may include primary and secondary clients, and in this case, all of the members are in need of education concerning the issues they deal with to provide deep family engagement (Sofaer & Schuman, 2013). An illness of one member affects the internal dynamics of the whole family, influences its functioning and relationships between the members (Kaakinen, Coelho, Steele, Tabacco, & Hanson, 2014).
Knowledge of a family allows a better idea of a patient’s background. Treating a family as a client makes it possible for the nursing professionals to envision a patient within their life’s context. The family has a set of needs, when the needs are addressed a family develops resilience and a capability to protect itself from a number of risk factors (Child and Family Health Nursing, 2015).
Each family is a unique combination of factors and influences, and thus it requires an individual approach. Working with a family as a client is to start with the analysis of its inner dynamics and all of the members and the most suitable methods should be developed based on the observations. Many families, unlike the Jose Laria family, are open to interactions with medical professionals and consults concerning their health, working with them a specialist will find more cooperation and response.
Family assessment is crucial for working with the family as a client because it is the source of all the important data about the members of the family as individuals and as a group, their relationships, history, background, and attitudes towards healthcare. Assessment of a family helps a professional to work out the best strategy for future cooperation and select the most efficient methods of education.
Child and Family Health Nursing. (2015). NSW Department of Health. Web.
Davis, R. A., & Gustafson, D. T. (2014). Academic-Practice partnership in public health nursing: Working with families in a village-based collaboration. Public Health Nursing.
Kaakinen, J. R., Coelho, D. P., Steele, R., Tabacco, A., & Hanson, S. M. (2014). Family Health Care Nursing: Theory, Practice, and Research. Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis.
Kreppner, K., & Lerner, R. M. (2013). Family Systems and Life-Span Development. London, United Kingdom: Psychology Press.
Sofaer, S., & Schuman, M. J. (2013). Fostering successful patient and family engagement: Nursing’s critical role. Web.