The heritage assessment is created to help healthcare professional to understand the multicultural background they encounter on a daily Basic. It assists the healthcare professional in building a therapeutic relationship with their patients or the individuals they are servicing. The use of the Heritage Assessment tool is to collect information or data on a person cultures, including but not limited to, where their ancestors were born, how many siblings they have, if their family originated in another country, how often they spend time with family, their religion, if the patient prefers the company of people with the same values and religion or ethnic background, what type of foods the patient prepares, and the patient’s native language. The utilization of this tool increases awareness on the patient’s healthcare values and beliefs.
Using the Heritage Assessment tool three families were interviewed, the Ndanda family, the Lewis family and the Sanchez family. These three families provided different insight to their views of health maintenance. The Ndanda and the Lewis family, having the same religious believe, share some similar value in term of health maintenance, as they both identified themselves as being part of the New Christian Church of God. However, even thou the Ndanda and the Lewis family shared similar religious beliefs, there are visibly clear differences in the way they maintained their health routines. The Lewis family comes from a mixed background of British and German heritage. They are very conscious of their physical health in respect to their diet and nutrition. They try as much as possible to exercise multiple times a week, to eat a very healthy diet. They like having dinner with family and live close to other family members so they can visit them as often as possible. They strictly follow the doctrine of their church and do not consume too much alcohol or smoke cigarette as it will cause the spirit of God to leave the body.
In contrast to the Lewis family, the Ndanda family whose heritage is predominantly African, does not strictly follow the healthy leaving style. Their meals are most homemade and base on African herbs and spice. Like most Cameroonian from the grassland (Bamileke), they they equate fat to a healthy life, for instance; a young bride after getting married is expected to gain weight to prove she is being well treated by her husband, if not people will think she sick and needing help. In an African household fast food is considered a treat and they treat themselves to it at least once a month. They also see exercise as a means on weight lost and do not regard it as a routine to stay healthy. Like most African in American they have too Jobs and work both day and night and don’t get the maximum rest needed for a healthy balance. They live with family in the house, yet that family quality time is missing. They might have other family members living around them but they really don’t see them because of their busy schedule. They enjoy drinking and throwing big party since that the only time the entire family get the opportunity to come together. Both the Lewis and Ndanda Family consider their religious practice at the Christian Church of God as an important core value for health maintenance and both family participate in their church event and meeting at least once a week.
Different from the other two Family, the Sanchez family on the other hand considers themselves somewhat religious with their Catholic faith, they do not associate their religion with their health and maintenance practices. The Sanchez family does not see the importance of exercise and healthy nutritional habits. Unlike the Ndanda Family whose meals and predominantly homemade, the Sanchez Family enjoy fast food and will eat out every day. When they decide to cook, because of their Mexican background, their meals a most made of lard and fats and not really consider healthy. The Sanchez family are social drinkers and heavy smokers of tobacco and users of other drugs, as they grew ups seeing other family members using these substances. They love socializing with family and spending enough time with them as possible.
In regard to health protection, we notice that it was more important in the Lewis family health practices but was not really observe in the health practices seeing in the Ndanda and Martinez family. Health protection is defined as important activities of public health that eliminate possible risk of adverse consequences to health attributable to environmental hazards (Public Health, n.d.). The Lewis family is the only family practicing health protection by avoiding the usage of tobacco and alcohol as well as other harmful substances (drugs, etc.) this would aid in protecting their health. On the other hand, the Ndanda and the Sanchez family, consider frequent prayer and going to church every Sunday to wash away sin and any other sickness which in turn will make them pure and keep them healthy. They Sanchez will pray the rosary, fast, drink Holy water and eat the holy communion (the body of Christ) when ill to help make them whole again. In addition, they do believe that by observing the practice of “Lent” once a year that this will aid in health protection.
Health restoration is defined as traditional beliefs and practices concerning the activities, such as folk remedies, modern medicine and healers, that must be used to restore health (CULTURALCARE Guide, n.d.). In term of health restoration, the Lewis and the Ndanda family used a trained medical doctor in the healing of their ailments, as they both had health insurance and believe strongly in the healthcare system. However, the Ndanda family also believe in native doctor and the power of healing, for example, if they were to be diagnose with a terminal illness such as Cancer they will seek the consult of a native doctor and find a man of god who will pray for them because they believe modern medicine cannot help them at that point. The Sanchez family does not have health insurance. They primarily believe that the body can heal itself and if that doesn’t happen they turn to seek modern medicine later when the disease is far too gone and harder to treat and the modern medicine can help them. The Sanchez also open to the use of an exorcist at this when healing is not achieved, as they believed that demons could consume the body to make one sick or afflicted. The three families’ views of health restoration showed more differences than similarities.
In conclusion, while using the Heritage Assessment tool we notice that even though these three families have so many similarities I feel like the differences are far more obvious. For example, the Lewis family and the Ndanda family, despite the fact the share similar religious preference, only the Lewis showed more interest in practicing their faith and religious backgrounds. The Ndanda family on the other hand, still practice the ancestral tradition by visiting native doctor and believe that prayer and fasting can keep them healthy. Like the Ndanda’s, the Sanchez does not consider health maintenance as an important aspect of life. They do not see the importance of exercising and healthy nutritional choices, rather they expect god to save and maintained their health when time come.