NRS 429 What is a definition of family that encompasses the different family structures prevalent today?

NRS 429 What is a definition of family that encompasses the different family structures prevalent today?

NRS 429 What is a definition of family that encompasses the different family structures prevalent today?

The meaning of family has a wide variety of definitions in society. Family is the place where you can be heard and seen and feel welcome. Family is the place that you feel like you are at Home. The family is a coordinated unit which functions to influence the well-being and personal development of each member. (Sharma, 2013.)

It is important to have a good understanding of family structures. It is important to understand the presence of non-traditional family structures, in order to assist a patient’s loved ones and provide information and support systems. It is a goal of the Registered Nurse to be non-judgmental and to point patients and families in the right direction. (Resnicow, 2012.)

Family systems theory can be utilized to aid in the nurse’s understanding of family structures. The nurse can develop insight into the every-day functionality of families. The nurse can also identify dysfunction and interruptions in family functioning due to illness or traumatic events. The nurse can assess for adverse childhood experiences or grief issues within the family system. This leads to an increased awareness of the impact that some events may have on the entire family structure and functioning.

Sharma, Rahul. The Family and Family Structure Classification Redefined for the Current Times. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care: Oct–Dec 2013 – Volume 2 – Issue 4 – p 306-310 doi: 10.4103/2249-4863.123774 

Resnicow K, McMaster F. Motivational Interviewing: moving from why to how with autonomy support. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2012 Mar 2;9:19. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-9-19. PMID: 22385702; PMCID: PMC3330017.

It is true that the staff of a given facility will need to maintain continuous communication with the parents and relatives of patients concerning the progress ad and condition of the patient. However, with HIPPA nurses or staff of the facility can only provide information to relatives of the patient if the patient chooses for that information to be shared with them otherwise it will be a breach of the HIPPA law. Nurses can only share patients’ health information/condition if the patient gives permission for such information to be given to members of their family. For patients who give permission to nurses or providers to share their health information to their loved ones, it always brings about positive health outcomes when members of the family are familiar with what is going on with their loved one and are actively involved in the care of their family member. Currently, my mother has Kaiser Permanente insurance, she lives with my older brother who is not a nurse, my brother and I are listed as her emergency contacts and care providers. She speaks very limited English and she is not health literate and she relies on me to decide and make suggestions when it comes to her health. Anytime anyone of us call to schedule her appointments, the Kaiser Rep will verify our identity and will request to put our mom on the phone as well. One of us will have to take her for her appointments and because we are involved in her care, she feels very confident and comfortable and she is satisfied with the medical care that she is receiving.

Communication between the patient treatment facility and the family is a major source of emotional support for the family. In our NICU, parents are provided with the opportunity to watch their babies via zoom. They call whenever they want, to see their baby and they communicate with nurses about their child’s progress. They are encouraged to call for their babies around feeding times or bath times and be part of it. The parents love doing that and it gives other members of the family the opportunity to see their baby.

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Family is the functional unit where life begins. Every individuals comes from a family and the love from the family cannot be compared with anyone else. As much as nurses tries to give psychological supports to patients,share information about their care, the support gotten from the family surpasses every other one. As a child, can you relate the joy you had when your parents comes to cheer you up in school during an award giving day? The bond from the family is very strong same goes to the patient. I have nursed several patients who had a better outcome as a result of family involvement.I once nursed an 80 years old diabetic patient who kept refusing nursing care and medications despite all client educations and hence was not getting better. Surprisingly when the children got involved in the care, the patient started accepting her medications and blood sugar became controlled.I later discovered that the patient was kind of paranoid and doesn’t accept foods or drinks from strangers as she believed that her husband died from food poison given to him by his best friend. If the family was not involved in the care of the patient, she would have developed some complications

I strive to always incorporate a patient’s family members into their care in the Emergency Department. We often encounter situations in the ED which are not true emergencies. There is often a knowledge deficit about where the patient should actually be, along the continuum of care. My role as a Case Manager is to educate the patient and family member on the level of care that they actually need, and how to obtain follow-up in the right location.

A Holistic approach to care in the ED involves allowing family members to visit and stay with the patients. Family members can often be helpful in Advocating for the patients and assisting with basic care. This can be a wonderful opportunity to assess the skills of a family Caregiver, and to teach them new or improved skills for caring for their loved one.

A traditional definition of family is defined by the parents and their off spring living together as a social unit with the same ancestry (Green, 2018). Today there are many different families living together, it could be non-traditional family structure like extended families, blended families, single parent family or nuclear family. There is also family of choice which is defined by Green, 2018 as “people chosen by an individual to care, love, and trust rather than the family of origin” These family systems can be used to understand the interactions of the modern family which can be any of the before mentioned families and this is considered a non-traditional family, whereas the family of origin or single-parent family might be considered a traditional family.  To understand the interactions of family systems theory you must understand that the interactions of a family are heavily influenced by the family members because each member of the family experiences togetherness, attachment as part of the system but at the same time the member remains a independent thinker (Green, 2018).

Green, S.Z. (2018). Understanding families and health promotion. In Grand Canyon University (Ed.), Health promotion: Health & wellness across the continuum. Grand Canyon University.

Traditionally, women play an important role in the family’s health. How well they perform this role is affected by their social status, education, employment and cultural practices that permit or inhibit them from family decision-making. Evidently, educational level and social status of women in countries of the South-East Asia Region is relatively low. There is an urgent need to improve the educational status of women. A systematic auction that requires participation/ cooperation from other sectors such as education, social welfare, local administrative bodies, and local health staff to educate and empower women to make informed health decisions will go a long way in improving the health status of the people.

There is a need for interventions that proactively work towards educating, empowering and supporting families to practice healthy behaviors. Community-based health workers and community health volunteers must be educated and skilled in facilitating people for empowerment. Women, in their role as mothers, play a crucial role in health decisions. With support from men, women can play an effective role in laying the foundation of healthy living.

Family is an integrated and functional unit of the society. It is one of the agents of socialization and the foundation up on which life begins. It is a unit of two or more persons united by marriage, blood, adoption or consensual union in general consulting a single household , interacting and communicating with each other. Family is one who cares for the patient physical. emotional and psychological needs. Family is who the patient calls family or significant others not just related by blood. Just as change is the only constant thing in the universe, over the years the concept of family has also changed from the traditional family structure of defining family as just the father , mother and children to involving other structures such as the step children, divorced, same sex etc. Family means different things to different persons , it extends to individuals choices of who they call family and what intentional meaningful relationship they form. Family structure is a term that described the members of a household who are linked by marriage or bloodline. it is a configuration of people who live together to make a family. The nuclear family is the traditional type of family structure which consists of the father, mother and children. Other types of family structures includes

Single parents: This consists of one parents raising the child/children

Extended family: consists of father, mother, children, uncles, nephews , cousin living together

Blended family:This involves two separate families coming together to form a family

it is important to acknowledge the non traditional family structure in healthcare system because it helps to eliminate discrimination

It enhances professional nursing equity

It helps to identify behavioral risk factors among a given populations

It helps to form a guideline for health education and healthcare promotion

it helps in disease identification and prevention

it helps to enhance support, and fosters love and care among the family

The no traditional family structure includes the cohabiting, same sex marriage, polygamy, single parenting


Sharma R. (2013). The Family and Family Structure Classification Redefined for the Current Times. Journal of family medicine and primary care2(4), 306–310.

Grand Canyon University (Ed). (2018). Health Promotion: Understanding Families and Health Promotion.