Family and Family Health Care

Afza.Malik GDA

Impact of Family Care on Health

Family and Family Health Care

Family Health,Factors Affecting the Family Health,Guidelines for Family as Health

Family Health

    No universal definition of family has been adopted by the legal and social systems, family scientists , or the clinical disciplines that work with or study families. How the family is defined determines the factors that will be examined to evaluate the health of individual family members and the family unit. 

    In addition to the biological family, when examining health in the context of the family, the family can be defined as constituting the group of persons acting together to perform functions required for the survival, growth, safety, socialization , and health of family members. 

    These functions include supporting health and caring for ill and disabled members. Research on health has focused primarily at the level of the individual and has demonstrated the interdependence between the health of the individual family members and the family ( Feetham , 1999).

Factors Affecting the Family Health

    Factors influencing family health include:

(a) Genetics.

(b) Physiological and psychological responses of individual family members; (c) cultural influences.

(d) The physical, social, economic, and political environments, including resources. 

    Researchers have shown that health and risk factors cluster in families because members often have similar diets, activity patterns , and behaviors, such as smoking and alcohol abuse, as well as a common physical environment. Identification of healthy families has focused on family interaction patterns, family problem solving, and patterns of responses to changes in the family system. 

    These definitions and concepts of family health provide a framework for determining measurable outcomes of family health while also accounting for the diversity in family structure ( Feetham , 1999, 2000).

    In 2003 we entered the genomic era, with findings from genomic research and advances in genetic technologies requiring a reframing of how we think of the continuum of health and illness, and even the concept of disease. The way in which diseases are categorized, and ultimately how they are treated and managed, will change. 

    No longer named by their symptoms (such as asthma), diseases will be more specifically identified by knowing the genetic and environmental causes leading to more focused treatments (Guttmacher & Collins, 2002). 

    Individuals and families will be faced with reframing their concept and experience with diagnosis, treatment, and prevention to include the term "generically linked disorder, with the blurring of the boundary between health and illness (Feetham & Thomson, in press). Genetic information may result in the need to extend the concept of "illness time" phases to include knowledge of a risk state, or in some cases, a pre symptomatic phase (Rolland, 1999; Street, E., & Soldan, 1998).

The risk state refers to the time before a statistical risk is known or acknowledged or the point in time when symptoms occur.The risk state may require interventions for individuals and families to respond to the increased awareness of risk, new genetic risk information , or even the earliest occurrence of symptoms.

    Families may need to begin to deal with anticipatory loss, accept increased surveillance, adhere to changes in health behaviors, or accept interventions that may potentially delay the onset or progression of the disease.

Guidelines for Family as Health

    Effective interventions with families incorporate an understanding of what health means to individual family members and to the family as a unit, and how the environment influences their health actions . 

    The family has been described as the primary social agent in the promotion of health and well being; therefore, our knowledge of the family and its relationship to the health of its individual members is central to research related to health promotion and to families responding to risk information and experiencing illness and disability.


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