Family is a set of relationships that the patient identifies as family or as a network of individuals who influence one another’s lives, whether or not there are actual biological or legal ties (Potter & Perry, 2013).
The emphasis in nursing today is on providing family-centered care. Wherever nurses practice, they will work with families and observe family dynamics across the lifespan (Giddens, 2013).
o Nuclear Family – consists of husband and wife (and perhaps one or more children).
o Extended Family – includes relatives (aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins) in addition to the nuclear family.
o Single-Parent Family – is ...view middle of the document...
To expand on the concept of family context to nursing, we will proceed to elaborate on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes nurses must practice with each patient. The key thing to note about family in relation to patient care is that it is individual to each patient. Family members can be one or multiple, and biological or not. Nurses must be knowledgeable about the multiple dimensions of family centered care such as, family preferences, values, coordination and integration of care, information, communication, education, physical comfort and emotional support, involvement of family and friends, as well as transition and continuity. The skills nurses should exercise in relation to family include carrying out any preferences, expressed needs, or cultural desires the patient and their family have. The nurse will also need to communicate the family’s needs, values, and wishes with other health care members whom work with the patient. An important nursing skill is also to provide family-centered care with sensitivity and respect for the diversity of human experience.
The way you treat someone is likely to stick with him or her forever. It is essential for nurses to have a professional and caring attitude toward not only their patients, but also their families. Respecting and honoring patient’s individual expression of family values, preferences, and expressed needs will help to make the patient more comfortable. As healthcare workers, we must also be able to recognize our personal attitudes about working with families from different ethnic, cultural and social backgrounds. We should always try to see healthcare through “the family’s eyes”, seek learning opportunities from the many different family connections we’ll encounter, and be willing to support patient-centered care for families whose values differ from own.
• Interrelated Concepts:
o Patient Education
o Health Promotion
• Interrelated Concepts Explained:
Culture is defined as shared beliefs and values of a group that are passed from generation to generation. Culture affects family dynamics in terms of the ways in which people cope with stress, the manner in which sick family members receive care, and the beliefs about sharing information with outsiders about a family member's illness. Cultural background will influence the family’s health practices, beliefs (including the cause of illness as well as practices to restore health), values, and customs.