Important Concepts in Family Nursing
A family is an organism in that it is made up of different units/parts. Although each individual part is concerned with complete in itself, it is a member of the whole system. Just like an organic system, a family functions best when all of its members play their roles. A family disintegrates when one or some members fail to play their roles. Although family systems seek to always remain steady, they need to accept any change that comes their way. Important concepts in family nursing include stability, change, circulatory, and boundaries. The stability of a family is ensured by homeostatic processes that maintain the integrity and structure of the family. Families need to strike a balance between the independence of their members and the cohesiveness of the entire system. For instance, if a teenager suffers from an illness, his autonomy can be maintained, instance, by allowing him to administer his own medicine.
The family’s cohesiveness is strengthened when the family offers psychosocial support to the teenager. The boundary of a family is associated with the roles of the members of the family and the relationship of the family with the wider community. This concept is important in nursing because it determines the availability of resources to a family coping with an illness. Families with good relations with extended family members and the wider community such as religious organizations have more resources to cope with an illness than closed family systems.
Family Nursing Theories
The Nightingale’s Environmental Model
Florence Nightingale is regarded as the founding mother of professional nursing. She emphasized the relationship between health and environmental factors such as sanitation, ventilation, warmth, light, noise, variety, bed and bedding, personal hygiene, food and nutrition, and social environments. The most attractive aspect of Nightingale’s Environmental Model is its association of health with environmental factors. Most people think that recovery from an illness is influenced mainly by the patients’ conformance with the medications and treatment therapy prescribed by their physicians.
However, Nightingale had the foresight to realize that health is a multifaceted concept that is influenced not only by the physical state but also by the state of mind and soul. She, therefore, advocated for measures that improve the environment in which the patient stays, for instance, bringing bright flowers to the patient every day, changing the paintings on the walls, eliminating noise as much as possible, changing and airing the beddings on a regular basis, and bathing and grooming not only the patient but also the caregivers on a regular basis. All these and other measures promote the holistic health of a patient by healing the body, mind, and soul.
The Orem’s Self-Care Model
Orem’s Self-Care Model is a model of nursing that puts emphasis on the self-care of the patient. The model asserts that nursing is only required if there is a discrepancy between what the individual is able to do (self-care agency) and what needs to be done to ensure optimum functioning of the individual (therapeutic self-care demands). The model proposed three types of nursing systems based on the self-care needs of the patient. These systems include a wholly compensatory system, a partially compensatory system, and a supportive-educative system. In a wholly compensatory system, the patient’s self-care agency is limited and therefore the nurse takes care of all, or most, of the patient’s needs.
In the partially compensatory system, both the patient and the nurse work hand in hand in meeting the patient’s self-care needs. In a supportive-educative system, the patient does most of the tasks while the nurse acts as the patient’s guide and coach. The most attractive aspect of Orem’s Self-Care Model is that it recognizes the need for patients to have autonomy over their bodies and needs. The model thus proposes the maintenance of patients’ self-care agency as much as possible. This is especially important in providing care to the elderly who have been incapacitated or immobilized by their old age or illnesses.
The majority of these patients are not happy with their over-dependence on others because all their lives they have lived independent lives. It is therefore the role of the nurse to help the patients to take care of their needs on their own if and when possible.