Ukrainian-Americans Family Healthcare Case

Family Background

The family chosen for this interview is a family of Ukrainian-Americans, whose ancestors have migrated to the US in the aftermath of the Russian Bolshevik revolution and the subsequent civil war of 1917-1922. It consists of three people, including the mother, the father, and the daughter. The family is completely naturalized and adopted many healthcare traditions typical to the American culture. At the same time, the family retains traces of their original culture. The purpose of this paper is to analyze this family’s structure, overall health behaviors, healthcare patterns and provide recommendations for potential improvement in the long-term perspective.

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Family Structure

The family consists of three members, which include the father (41 years old), the mother (38 years old), and the daughter (24 years old). They are a middle-class white Caucasian family with a house of their own. The daughter is not married and lives with her parents. She attends a local medical college and interns as a nurse. The family follows a traditionalist role division, with the father being the main breadwinner and the mother being in charge of the household affairs (Giger, 2014). The daughter’s responsibilities are limited to her own room.

The views on spirituality in the family are different, with the mother being an orthodox Christian, the father being an agnostic, and the daughter presenting herself as an atheist. The family adopted a “live and let live” policy, which is why these core differences are never discussed. The family lives in a relatively safe district with low poverty and crime rate, several schools and various healthcare facilities present to attend the majority of healthcare needs, thus constituting a stable environment.

Overall Health Behaviors

The family has a well-established healthcare routine they follow in their day-to-day activities, which includes brushing teeth two times a day, taking showers every two days, washing hands before food consumption and after visiting the bathroom, as well as performing a major clean-up operation every two weeks. The family eats three times a day in a pattern different from the majority of American families, as it excludes lunch and replaces it with a meal in the late afternoon. The choice of foods varies, with the mother preferring a healthy vegetable-based, the daughter indulging in junk food, and the father eating whatever his wife decides to put on the table.

This results in a variety of different healthcare outcomes. The family trusts their local healthcare professionals to deal with whatever ailments they may have but chooses not to go to the doctor if the ailment is perceived as insignificant or mild, which is a typical East-European behavior (Giger, 2014). The use of folk medicine is unlikely, though off-the-counter solutions are frequently present. The common remedies include Ibuprofen for pain, coal for food poisoning, Pancreatin to improve digestion, Paracetamol, and Aspirin for cold, and Furazolidone for stomachache.

Functional Health Pattern Strengths and Barriers to Health

The two functional pattern strengths identified for this family include a healthy daily routine and a modicum of experience in self-treatment. The family wakes up, eats, and goes to sleep at approximately the same time, ensuring a healthy balance of rest and activity. The morning routine helps maintain a reasonably high level of personal hygiene, preventing diseases of the epidermis, cavities, and other issues associated with lack of cleanliness (Moorhead, Johnson, Maas, & Swanson, 2014).

Since one of the family members is an aspiring nurse, she also acts as a doctor for the rest of the family, being capable of recognizing the symptoms of simple diseases and treat them at home. In addition, she promotes a variety of other health behaviors in the family and is the reason why the morning routine is so rigorously followed.

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However, several barriers to health were also discovered. One major barrier to the psychological health of the family is the perceived psychic distance between family members. The “live and let live” policy avoids the discussion of any topics that other family members may consider troublesome, which leads to alienation (Moorhead et al., 2014). The daughter is slightly obese due to a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits, which she is aware of, but could not help herself (Moorhead et al., 2014). Lastly, the mother experiences social isolation from being the only person in the family to take care of house chores (Moorhead et al., 2014). Thus, the areas in which barriers were identified include psychological, dietary, and social health.

Family Systems Theory and Recommendations

Family systems theory sees the family as an emotional unit, where the interactions between family members on a physical, psychological, and cultural level can affect the overall healthcare situations (Becvar & Becvar, 2018). As it was identified earlier, the family experiences several psychological barriers that alienate individual members one from another. The family does not facilitate a constructive dialogue on important issues, which results in poor psychological health and a lack of empathy towards oneself and other members of the family unit. In accordance with this theory, several recommendations are suggested (Becvar & Becvar, 2018):

  • Division of household labor. It would help the mother and bring the family together.
  • Facilitate family dinners. As it stands, each member of the family eats separately. Bringing everyone together would facilitate trust, discussion, and dialogue.
  • Address important healthcare matters. The daughter’s obesity issue needs to be resolved. Also, her detachment and unwillingness to leave the house is a reason for concern.

The proposed measures are in line with the Family systems theory and are likely to facilitate a healthy psychological climate.

References

Becvar, R. J., & Becvar, D. S. (2018). Systems theory and family therapy: A primer (3rd ed.). Lanham, MD: Hamilton Books.

Giger, J. N. (2014). Transcultural nursing: Assessment and intervention (6th ed.). New York, NY: Elsevier.

Moorhead, S., Johnson, M., Maas, M. L., & Swanson, E. (2014). Nursing outcomes classification (NOC) (5th ed.). New York, NY: Elsevier.

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