Family Health Overview and Assessment


The paper is about a family health assessment using functional health patterns consisting of 11 items adapted from Marjory Gordon (Gordon, 1994). Details are collected using open-ended questions to explore various health issues and provide a more comprehensive nursing assessment of the family (Appleton & Cowley, 2008). VX is a recently divorced mother, living with her daughter, Nancy and a seven-year-old grandson.

Values and Health Perception

Apart from VX, the rest of the family members display good general health. Since her divorce, VX has drinking alcohol to cope with her situation. In addition, she also occasionally smokes. These risky health behaviors have affected VX general health, and she seems to be depressed.

Nancy has been strong and has encouraged her mother to get help from a professional. She ensures that the family is active, eat healthy diets and take a walk at least three times every week.

VX depression has been evident in the last three months with increased dependence on alcohol and cigarettes. This situation makes Nancy to worry a lot about her mother while the grandson sometimes appears withdrawn.


Despite VX condition, Nancy has always strived to ensure that the family consumes healthy diets consists of fruits and vegetables. Thus, a typical daily meal for the family is regarded as healthy. However, VX may sometimes fail to eat her meals because of stupor.

In the recent past, VX has lost a significant amount of weight, and she currently appears unhealthy. This condition has been attributed to alcoholism and failure to eat properly. Other members of the family are generally healthy and do not appear to have body weight issues. Currently, Nancy explains that no member of the family is under any diet restriction, and they strive to eat only healthy diets.


Generally, the two members of the family have almost a fixed sleep routine. VX grandson is expected to sleep after supper immediately. Nancy takes a few minutes to do some house chores. On the other hand, VX sleeps most of the time.

VX may also complain of sleep onset issues and stays late into the night. It is noted that she worries a lot about her life and the divorce.

While remains unclear whether VX has sleep apnea, Nancy has noted that she snores loud enough to disturb her sleep. Occasionally, VX may fall asleep on during the day while watching television.


There is no family member reported with a blood control issue. This situation can be attributed to favorable overall well-being of members of the family. In addition, the family has not experienced any urinary infection issues, elimination challenges and, therefore, the pattern of urination can be said to be normal. However, VX may display irregular patterns of urination, particularly after consuming too much alcohol for several hours. The condition may persist for a couple of hours after VX retires for the day. At the same time, VX sometimes complain of excess perspiration. These are temporary conditions associated with her excessive use of alcohol and cigarettes.


Nancy has recognized the importance of physical activities to their health. Consequently, she ensures that they engage in physical activities, brisk walk and jogging throughout the week. However, these practices are not regularly and only take place when Nancy has adequate time, especially during weekends. Sometimes, cold weather may inhibit outdoor activities. Overall, these activities have improved physiques of the two while ensuring that they have healthy body weights. VX rarely takes part in physical activities. However, she is still in good physical health just like the rest of the family members.

Generally, these activities do not require elaborate resources. Thus, the family can meet their demands. However, during cold seasons, the family lacks adequate space for extensive indoor physical activities.


The seven-year-old grandson of VX does not have any difficulties learning. History of the family shows that no such challenges have ever existed in the family. Consequently, the grandson is doing well at school despite her grandmother’s alcoholism. At the same time, the grandson does not suffer from concentration issues. However, VX may experience some challenges associated with concentration because of alcoholism. Nancy has also reported mild cases of loss of concentration while at work because of family worries.

None of the family members suffers from memory loss. However, VX has demonstrated several instances of forgetfulness, including contractual obligations. This situation can be attributed to alcoholism. She seems not to remember simple tasks or keeping track of important dates in her life.

Sensory Perception

No family members have suffered speech and language difficulties. All family members appear to talk normally and do not demonstrate difficulties in understanding English language as expected of any healthy individuals. In addition, none of the family member has shown any disabilities associated with hearing, smell, touch and vision. Thus, one can conclude that the family sensory perception reflects healthy individuals. The absence of such conditions shows heredity and environmental factors that promote well-being of the family.

Members of this family have not experienced strong physical pain resulting from injuries. Nevertheless, Nancy and her mother express fear of pain because of possible suffering they may experience when subjected to physical pain.


Nancy describes herself as a resilient, adaptable person who has been able to withstand her parents’ divorce while raising her son a single mother. While VX has been there for her, she tends to be stressed by ‘small issues’ and worries a lot about her future.

For VX, depression has been a major because of the divorce. It is reflected in her behaviors of drinking and smoking. Although other members of the family appear normal, Nancy also worries more about her mother.

Currently, Nancy believes that the state of her mother is a threat to their well-being as a family. Consequently, she has tried to convince her mother to seek for professional help on handling divorce and drug abuse.

Role Relationship

Nancy has challenges getting along with her mother because of alcoholism and smoking. While she understands the impact of the divorce on VX, Nancy just wants her stop habits that lead to drug and substance abuse. This situation often leads to family conflicts.

The family has a limited social connection. Therefore, extremely few friends do visit them. However, VX grandson can interact with other children at school freely while Nancy often chats with her colleagues at work. Social isolation of the family could have negatively affected emotional well-being of VX.


Currently, it is difficult to discern healthy satisfying sexual relationships in this household because there is no male family member or companion mentioned as a part of the family. A lack of partner in the lives of Nancy and her mother could lead to emotional instability. So far, no cases of sexual transmitted diseases have been noted in the family. Therefore, the family is healthy. At the same time, there are no cases of abnormal sexual orientations in the family. Hence, one can conclude that family members have straight sexual orientation.


The recent divorce in the family has adversely affected the family. Consequently, it has led to a crisis, specifically for VX and notable impacts on Nancy. There are no clearly coping strategies for the crisis because VX has turned to alcohol and substance abuse. The situation is becoming worse because there is no assistance from other external relations while Nancy is left alone to handle all the family responsibilities.

Wellness Nursing Diagnoses

Readiness for Enhanced Individual Coping

VX does not display readiness for enhanced individual coping because she has declined to seek for professional assistance and continues to use alcohol and cigarettes (Weber, 2005). Nursing diagnoses should therefore focus on effective interventions.

Readiness for Enhanced Family Coping

Nancy demonstrates readiness to cope up with the family crisis. She encourages her mother to seek for help and manages all other family responsibilities. The ability of the family to cope with its current situation is hampered by VX.

Social Interaction

Social interaction is limited in the family, specifically for VX, who rarely receives visitors or friends. At the same time, it is difficult to understand social interaction of Nancy, except at work where she interacts with her colleagues (Sittner, Hudson, & Defrain, 2007).

Health-Seeking Behaviors

Generally, the family appears healthy because of Nancy’s focus on healthy diets and physical activities. At the same time, she also encourages her mother to seek for professional assistance to overcome divorce crisis and substance abuse.


Appleton, J. V., & Cowley, S. (2008). Health visiting assessment processes under scrutiny: A case study of knowledge use during family health needs assessments. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 45(5), 682–696. Web.

Gordon, M. (1994). Nursing Diagnosis: Process and Application (3rd ed.). St. Louis: Mosby.

Sittner, B. J., Hudson, D. B., & Defrain, J. (2007). Using the Concept of Family Strengths to Enhance Nursing Care. The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, 32(6), 353- 357.

Weber, J. R. (2005). Nurses’ Handbook of Health Assessment (5th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Questionnaire for Family Health Assessment

Values and Health Perception

  1. Is any member of the family using drugs, cigarettes and alcohol?
  2. What do members of your family do to keep healthy?
  3. Has any member of the family experienced illness in the past one year?


  1. What is the family typical daily meal consists of?
  2. Is there a problem of body weight (gain or loss) in the family?
  3. Is any member of the family under diet restriction?


  1. What is the family sleep routine?
  2. Is any member of the family experiences sleep onset issues?
  3. Are there cases of sleep apnea symptoms?


  1. Is any family member has a bladder control problem?
  2. What is the urinary elimination pattern or issues in the family?
  3. Are cases of excess perspiration observed in the family?


  1. What are the family exercise patterns and activities?
  2. What types of activities do family members perform?
  3. Can the family get sufficient resources for exercise?


  1. Is the child having difficulty in learning?
  2. Is any member of the family experiences concentration challenges?
  3. Is there any memory challenge noticed among family members?

Sensory Perception

  1. Has the family experienced any cases of speech and language difficulties?
  2. Is there any family member with hearing, smell, touch, and vision problems?
  3. How does the family perceive pain?


  1. How do you describe yourself?
  2. Is depression an issue in the family?
  3. What do you consider as a threat to your well-being within the family?

Role Relationship

  1. Is there any family member you have trouble when handling?
  2. Are there any external, close friends?
  3. Can the family income sufficiently meet the needs?


  1. Is the relationship sexually satisfying?
  2. Is there a case of sexual transmitted diseases in the family?
  3. Has the family noted any cases of abnormal sexual relationships?


  1. Has the family experienced any significant changes or crisis in the last three years?
  2. What are the coping strategies adopted by the family?
  3. Who assists with the family responsibilities?

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