Maintaining and improving physical and mental health necessitates a thorough understanding of the patient’s history. The assessment of a person as a whole is aided by assessing the patient’s background. When evaluating core cultural beliefs, which influence attitudes, values, and ideas that they subscribe to, the Heritage Assessment tool becomes a handful. This, in turn, affects the restoration of their health status to a significant extent. People come from various cultures and backgrounds, but they coexist; some are assimilated, while others retain their beliefs, customs, and cultural practices. This paper assesses three different families with a heritage assessment tool that was evaluated and based on. The three families came from African, Jamaican and Bahamian cultures. Interviews were conducted with these three cultures and assessment stressed more on the importance of different health traditions practiced by these cultures. Heritage can be understood as something that is handed down from the past, that is, birth, such as tradition, possessions, personal characteristics, and status. Heritage assessment is a tool used to assess, maintain and restore individual’s culture and beliefs. In evaluating an individual the health care and service providers are able to assess the cultural health methods that help both the health provider and the patient to achieve an effective and efficient communication that will enhance health (Heritage & Heritage, 2013).
A community share in heritage which is distinct from other cultures, particularly in regard to traditional health (Laing, 2014). The three family’s assessment is based on differences in traditional health practices with regard to their spiritual, mental and physical beliefs. Differences emerge along the lines of beliefs on death, illness, health and diseases. Various societies believe that health results from a complete balance of a persons’ mind, body, spirit, and family in relation to other external influencers.
A family originating from Africa was interviewed. According to the assessment, they believe in God, and this is especially seen in their way of life which is a prayerful one. They attend the church of God based in Lagos, Nigeria. The family keeps close contact with their nuclear family members but less contact with the extended family. They tend to keep their health status to themselves within the nuclear family, but the deterioration of health would provoke them to extend the information to the other family members. The illnesses which are not acute are handled with the traditional medications, but the acute ones are taken to the. They value traditional recipes such as the Nigerian fufu which is made of cassava. This meal is cheap and affordable. Other meals are common to the Jamaicans and Bahamians with whom they share descendants from Africa (Heritage & Heritage, 2013).
An interview was administered to a family from Russells who are Bahamas natives. Their cultural practice has a strong blend of African touch particularly in regard to religion, dance, music, and foods. Findings reveal that churchgoing and prayer life is taught and acquired at a very tender age. Children grow in the Bahamas knowing that Sundays are days preserved for worship (Spector, 2002). They share in religion subscription with the African community in attending the church of God and Baptist worshippers as Christians. They are deeply rooted in faith and therefore subscribes to the belief that the source of health and general wellness comes from God. The community believes in living together as a family and commonly gathers on Sundays for a common meal and catch up on matters of life. Their meal is mainly composed of vegetables and fruits. Their stew and main dishes cannot easily miss an ingredient called conch.
These families rarely talk about illnesses, and they mostly use indigenous natural bush herbs to treat sickness. Aloe vera and ceracee are commonly identified as some of the main bush herbs used widely to cure a diverse range of sickness such as cold and flu. Just like Africans, medical care in hospitals is sought on rare occasions where common remedies did not succeed. Exercise is a common way of health maintenance which an individual undertakes at least thrice a week, accompanied by the diet aforementioned. Annual vaccinations are administered to both husband and wife as well as physicals.
The interview was conducted on a Jamaican who resides in Texas currently and has lived there for about two years. Christianity in Jamaica is quite pronounced with the churches available being the church of God, the Baptist, and the angelical church. Most of Jamaicans are well known for their music and fine cuisine. The famous Rastafarian is as a result of the Christian culture with its origin being influenced by the African beliefs on religion. Most Jamaicans like to eat a lot of yams and potatoes from the earth. Just like Bahamians, they believe so much in their use of herbal bush medicines with the belief that they can cure many forms of illnesses (Heritage & Heritage, 2013). They hold family ties so dearly such that when one is sick, they will send for council from the family. This shows that they are very close to their immediate families. They also have a strong belief in God which has strengthened them in terms of their faith and prayer life. The interviewed, for example, goes to church every Sunday and exercise for about three times in a week. They are also strict when it comes to fast foods, and they do not involve themselves in such. More so, they have shown to practice health consciousness since they would always seek for alternative remedies when the common ones do not work on their illnesses.
The traditions practiced by the Africans, Bahamians, and Jamaicans are all from the elderly members from different generations and the oldest member of the family, such as the grandparents (Spector, 2002). What is common among the three cultures is their firm belief in their divine power which is depicted in their way of worship and prayerful life. The Health maintenance can be defined as a systematic procedure that has been designed to prevent illness or sicknesses in order to maintain their maximum function and in the promotion of health. Health promotion, on the other hand, is defined as how one manages his or her health by prevention and promotion of good health. Health promotion act as a core thing in terms of nursing care at different levels such as primary, secondary and even tertiary and healthcare at large. This is of important in the prevention of illness from progression. The health restoration is bringing back of an individual to a full functioning state of health to a state that they can perform their daily activities without help. This can also be viewed in terms of how they approach and treat illnesses after diagnosis. Health protection, on the other hand, is about the maintenance and protection of health on a daily basis (Laing, 2014). Nurses, who are central here, come in contact mostly with these different cultures on day to day basis and they have to represent them as advocates, health promoters, and their educators. Heritage assessment tool, therefore, provides more information needed by the nurses in order to help in understanding where these individuals are coming from. People approach the issues of health maintenance, health promotion and health restoration from different perspectives based on the different culture and heritage.
Heritage, M., & Heritage, J. (2013). Teacher questioning: The epicenter of instruction and assessment. Applied Measurement in Education, 26(3), 176-190.
Laing, J., Wheeler, F., Reeves, K., & Frost, W. (2014). Assessing the experiential value of heritage assets: A case study of a Chinese heritage precinct, Bendigo, Australia. Tourism Management, 40, 180-192.
Spector, R. E. (2002). Cultural diversity in health and illness. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 13(3), 197-199.
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