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28.1 Family as Client

Everyone has their own definition of family. Whatever that definition, the nurse must work with the family and their dynamics. Regardless of the structure, families share certain common functions and characteristics. The functions and characteristics of the family can and will affect the health of the individual. Nurses must educate families on self-care, health promotion, and disease prevention.

28.2 Frameworks of Practice

Families go through life cycles, from starting a family to growing old. Each family may go through certain developmental tasks at their own pace. Nurses need to differentiate these tasks to formulate a holistic perspective on the family. Certain frameworks and theories help guide nurses in caring for families and help nurses understand how these familes operate as a social system. These include the socioecological framework, the transactional model, general systems theory, the Calgary Family Assessment model, and the Calgary Family Intervention model.

28.3 Family Health Nursing

In family health nursing, the nurse focuses on viewing the “client” as one unit or group of people. Family health nurses work in a variety of settings such as home care agencies; local, state, or national agencies or organization; or hospital systems. Family health reflects the family’s ability to meet each family member’s physical, psychological, spiritual, safety, economic, emotional, and intellectual needs. A family’s ability to meet these needs is affected by the SDOH.

28.4 Conducting a Family Nursing Assessment

A family health assessment is a systemized process of collecting and organizing data nurses may use to determine a family’s strengths and areas of concern. Nurses gather information through interviews with the family and observation of the family’s environment and by collecting community data. Specific tools, including ecomaps and genograms, can help nurses conduct family assessments, and it may take more than one interview to collect the necessary data. Once the nurse conducts the family health assessment, they must formulate a nursing care plan that includes assessment, diagnosis, planning, and evaluation.

28.5 Family Violence

Families may experience developmental or situational crises. Families may also experience IPV, abuse, and/or neglect. Nurses must understand the different types of abuse (physical, sexual, or psychological) and their signs and symptoms. Nurses have an ethical role in preventing and intervening in any abuse. Nurses can implement strategies at all levels to help families that are in crisis and prevent abuse and neglect.

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