Free «Heritage Assessment» Essay

Heritage Assessment


Heritage assessment tool refers to a set of questions that one can use to investigate the cultural, ethnic, language, and religious heritage of patients. The tool aids in conducting a heritage assessment to establish how deeply a particular individual identifies with a given tradition. Heritage assessment is mostly useful in healthcare systems to set a platform for understanding the health traditions of a person, and the awareness about health protection, maintenance and restoration (Spector, 2004). This paper focuses on the usefulness of employing the heritage assessment to evaluate the requirements of families, and device a plan for health protection, maintenance, and restoration. Besides, the paper will identify health traditions in regards to the cultural heritage of different families, how these families follow their customs, and how important their traditions and practices hold to them.

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Common Health Traditions Based On Cultural Heritage

Heritage is described as the extent to which a person’s lifestyle reflects their tribal culture (Spector, 2004). Ethnic heritage exist in range, and an individual can possess both the traditional values, that is, living within the traditional norms, and modern values, living outside the traditional rules. Three different families were interviewed using heritage assessment tool. These families originated from different countries, that is, one from African American, another from Guyana, and the other from Sierra Leone. The interviews revealed that all the three families have the same awareness regarding their cultural and traditional heritage. The responses given to the questions indicate that all the three families strongly identify with their religious and cultural heritage. The above is so since the higher numbers of yes responses mean that the person has a greater identification with such a traditional culture. The only exception to the positive responses is the question regarding the change of family name, which might be answered negatively.

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According to the heritage assessment tool, the three families exhibit some common health traditions. The general health tradition includes that they believe their religion and culture are vastly imperative in their lives, and so they respect them. The plans for health protection, health maintenance, and health restoration are more similar across the three cultures. In the event of any health connected issue, these families seek medical care. However, they use some traditional healing approaches, such as going to church and praying for the sick patient, which is deemed as health maintenance (Spector, 2004). In addition, the families practice health restoration physical activities, such as dancing, festivals, and holiday celebrations, which is considered part of traditional practices.

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Subscriptions to Traditions and Practices

The interviewed families subscribe to these traditions and practices in various ways. When it comes to ethnicity subscriptions, the first family (African American) was born and grew up in the USA just like their parents. The respondents have maintained contact with his parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and their children (Respondent One, 2016). In addition to living in proximity to most of the uncles, aunts and cousins, the family visits other members living away on a monthly basis. They have not changed their original family name as well.

In this family, the couples come from the same ethnic background and live in a neighborhood where the neighbors are of the same ethnic background. More subscriptions are revealed by the family’s participation in ethnic activities, such as singing, dancing, festivals, and holiday celebrations (Respondent One, 2016). Furthermore, preparing traditional foods at home and keeping friends from the same ethnic background shows how deeply this family is rooted in their tradition and culture.

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Another important way the family subscribes to their traditions is through having a religious preference, that is, Baptists church. Marrying someone from the same religion, belonging to a religious institution, as well as attending their church more than once a week, reveals how deeply the family has subscribed to worship. Moreover, being an active member of the church, praying at home, and celebrating religious holidays are part of this family’s religious values (Respondent One, 2016). Furthermore, the family subscribes to religious heritage by living in a neighborhood where the neighbors are of similar religion and keeping friends from the same religious background.

The second family (Sierra Leone) was born and grew up in Sierra Leone until the age of 20 when he came to the USA. Most of his families live back at home in Sierra Leone. The respondent grew up with his parents, brothers and sisters, and the extended family back at home (Respondent Two, 2016). Although the other members of the family live in Sierra Leone, the respondent has maintained contact with them through visiting them on a monthly basis. Additionally, the respondent has never changed the original family name. This visit and retaining of the initial family name means that the family has not forsaken their ancestries. Although the spouse does not come from the same ethnicity and so the neighborhood, the respondent has subscribed to his tradition through cooking ethnic background food at home (Respondent Two, 2016). The respondent engages in cultural festivals, dancing, and costumes, which is a substantial subscription to ethnic activities.

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This family has subscribed to religious values through choosing Catholic as the preferred denomination, and marrying a spouse who practices the same religion. The family is active in their religious institution, which they attend many times a week (Respondent Two, 2016). Even if the couples are from different ethnic backgrounds, they have subscribed to the same religious belief by praying at home, reading the Bible, and celebrating religious holidays together.

The third family (Guyana) was born and grew back in Guyana with the mother and brother until he got 24 when he came to the USA. This family recognizes their background though maintaining contact with and visiting the uncles, aunts, parents, and the brother back at home Guyana every month (Respondent Three, 2016). In addition, retaining the initially given family name, and marrying from the same ethnic background is a reminder that the family strongly values their cultural background. The family has subscribed to their culture by living in a neighborhood with people from the same ethnicity and keeping friends from the same ethnic background. Although the respondent does not engage in outdoor cultural activities, he does prepare food from his traditional background, showing his profound roots in culture (Respondent Three, 2016).

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Regarding subscriptions to religious values, the respondent, and the spouse shared a common religious preference, and they belong to a particular church, even if they are not actively involved. Another subscription is through practicing religious activities, particularly praying at home, and celebrating religious holidays (Respondent Three, 2016). Although they have not kept friends from the same religious background, the family lives in a neighborhood where neighbors share the same religion as theirs. All these practices exhibit the subscriptions of this family to their religious and cultural beliefs.

Plans for Health Maintenance, Protection, and Restoration

World Health Organization identifies three major health determinants, namely; the physical environment, the social-economic environment and an individual’s personal behaviors and characteristics (WHO, 2015). The three health determinants comprise most of the life of a person plus various factors that can affect their health, including the influence that personal heritage can exert on one’s health. A heritage assessment can help the nurses in providing culturally competent healthcare since it allows the nurses to understand the patient’s cultural preferences about healthcare, complementary care, and nutrition. Open discussion regarding heritage enables the nurses to respect the patient, assess the need for supplementary education, as well as tailor such education to the patient (WHO, 2015). Additionally, the assessment helps the nurses to meet the patients where they are through recognizing culturally based beliefs and distinguishing this from misinformed views. Different cultural backgrounds address health protection, maintenance, and restoration in varied ways.

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Health Maintenance

Health maintenance called health protection, encompasses activities that can preserve a person’s present health status and preclude the occurrence of disease or injury (Ball et al., 2015). Based on the above definition, all the three cultures appeared similar. In the event of any sickness, where the symptoms cannot be managed at home, all the three would seek medical assistance. The three families did not show any barriers to seeking medical care. All of them state that they endeavor to eat healthy as they all have time to prepare meals at home regularly. In addition, they all indicated that they cook food from their various ethnic backgrounds at home.

The blending of cultural food and western food means that the families are maintaining proper nutrition since some traditional foods are very nutritious. As Spector (2004) puts it, to keep the physical health, a person might use traditional foods plus fashion that were proven to be effective within their culture. Besides, all the three families maintained contact with other members of their families and supported a religious or an ethnic, social network. Such a behavior is in line with Spector’s 2004 claim that one’s mental health might be protected from receiving social and emotional support from the community and family members

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Health Restoration

Health restoration refers to returning to a previously functional fitness level (Ball et al., 2015). All the three respondents engage in physical health restoring activities, such as dancing, festivals, and costumes. Spector (2004) states that religious rituals might be conducted believing that they will aid in restoring health. All the three families list a religious affiliation, and they perform religious rituals such as praying to restore their health status. The plan for these families is that they should willingly seek a physician whenever they feel necessary. Parents should follow any plan of care that their doctor would outline for them.


Heritage assessment is mostly useful in healthcare systems to set a platform for understanding the health traditions of a person, and the awareness about health protection, maintenance, and restoration. The mentioned families have surprisingly positive attitudes towards their tradition and culture, an element always lacking in most of the immigrants who do not want to recognize cultural background as valued heritage. By completing the cultural assessments, it has made clear that discussion with the patient is necessary in regards to cultural needs. The culture assessment tool has served as a platform to explore what people do to protect, maintain, and restore their state of health. Additionally, the tool shows the correlated phenomenon of mental, spiritual, and physical health with personal modes of protecting, maintaining, and restoring health. They made clear that one cannot make assumptions based on limited knowledge.

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