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Introduction

Culture and health are two terms that go hand in hand. Each of them always associates with the other. Therefore, people in the medical field try as much as possible to understand both. This is because the medical profession is one of those professions where interactions with people are inevitable. A medical practitioner might be having vast knowledge in the medical field. However, if he/she cannot interact with people from different cultures, all that knowledge can be rendered useless.

Importance of nutrition in Health Promotion, Local Resources and Cultural Theory

Bodies are built by what we eat. Nutrition influences growth, development and reproduction. Recovery from illnesses is also influenced by healthy nutrition. Most of the diseases that occur in individuals are as a result of lacking some essential nutrients. Therefore, poor nutrition results to poor health. However, if an individual maintains healthy nutrition, he/she is likely to suffer from only a few illnesses. This is because most of the essential nutrients would be in the body. Some of the most serious diseases and illnesses in the world associate with nutrition. For example, a stroke occurs on a person who takes excess fats so as to block their arteries. It is evident that quite a number of illnesses can be avoided through healthy nutrition (Rundle 2002). Cultural theory is the definition of culture by different communities. It differs from one cultural group to the other. Locally there are many plants which exist for every household. Some of these plants are of high nutritional value and benefit the locals tremendously.

Usefulness of Heritage Assessment in Evaluating a Person’s Needs

Everyone on earth has a cultural heritage. This is determined by the beliefs, likes, knowledge, traditions and customs of an individual. The main role of culture is to bring people together as a result of their diversity. The heritage assessment tool was introduced to collect cultural views from different people in the world. The other principal purpose for which it was introduced is to build cultural competencies in healthcare professionals.

The tool conducts a cultural assessment on an individual by how the individual answers the questions. For example, if the individual is able to answer most of the questions in a detailed series of answers, he/she is viewed to have a greater identification with customary heritage. As a person answers the questions, a health practitioner tells all the needs that the individual has. Therefore, a person’s needs are easily identified using the heritage assessment tool.

Through the way that an individual answers the questions of the heritage assessment tool, it is easy to tell and identify the problems that they suffer. For example, a medical practitioner could be assessing two people from different backgrounds. One of the individuals could just give straightforward answers as they are asked. However, the other individual might be emotionally expressive. This would tell the medical practitioner a lot about their culture. The second individual comes from a cultural background where sick people are pampered and encouraged (Spector 2003). This would go a long way to help the medical practitioner to decide on the most suitable method of treatment. Apart from the physical sickness, such an individual requires mental and emotional support. In recent studies, emotional approach to a physical disease gives a patient the will power to recover. It has been proven to represent the highest percentage of contribution to the recovery of a patient.

Some cultures do not allow the use of some drugs. However, there arises situations whereby, the only way out is this drug. This renders the individual hopeless since their culture restricts them. Through the heritage assessment tool, a medical practitioner can make several deductions. For example, he/she can find out the likes and dislikes of the individual. They are also likely to find out the restrictions that are placed by the culture of the patient. After these considerations, the medical practitioner compares the results with what is suitable for the individual. It comes to a point where teaching is required. The patients sometimes need to be delivered from their cultural bondage. The solution to a patient’s problem could be an easy one. However, if cultural beliefs do not allow the individual to use that method, they are doomed to tick with the problem whatsoever. Therefore, the heritage assessment tool is quite significant in identifying the needs of an individual as well as solving them.

Some of the problems that people from different societies have are not problems. For example, in some societies, thinness is considered to be a problem. Plumpness on the other and is considered to be healthy. In such a community, the talk of loss of weight would not make any sense. Through the heritage assessment tool, medical practitioners get to learn about these false beliefs. Therefore, they are able to explain to the patients the real problems that are facing them instead of letting them b buried by false beliefs. This also helps in medical education (Helman 2007). Through the heritage assessment tools, the teachers and medical experts are able to identify the fallacies that are held among people in the society. They identify the main areas that require polishing through the minds of the people. This is also the same case in some of the religions. They have beliefs and practices which restrict their members from adequate medical care. This should be identified by medical experts and clarified to the members of the public. This helps to improve the health of the people in the society.

It is said that the balance of the body, spirit and mind amounts to health. This means that the treatment of a disease does not only depend on the medicine offered to an individual. There is more to it, as well. For a nurse to satisfy all these aspects of a patient’s life, she has to understand the traditions and culture of the patient. Some nurses deal with people of different cultural backgrounds every day. Every time, they have to adapt to different cultural beliefs in order to deal with patients. If a nurse dealt with a patient without considering his/her cultural beliefs, this would slow the treatment and healing process (Winkelman 2008). This is why the heritage assessment tool is vital in healthcare. It helps the medical practitioners to quickly go through the cultures of their patients and determine how well to relate with them. Therefore, they are able to please the patients and keep them sentimental. This gives the patients a positive attitude towards their illness and shows them that they can make it out of the illness. Therefore, it is clear that the heritage assessment tools go a long way in identifying the personal needs of an individual. They are vital tools in the medical sector which help to improve the quality of medical services. This ensures general public health as well as the unity of people who come from different cultures.

Three Different cultures from Three Different Families

In terms of health maintenance, protection, restoration and traditions, the three families showed significant differences. In my family, in Haiti, we emphasize on healthy nutrition in the maintenance of health. We also emphasize on cleanliness in order to protect ourselves from various diseases. Once a person falls ill in our region, they are taken to the hospital for treatment. In another family that I visited, they solely rely on medical checkups, which are conducted on a regular basis. Their nutrition is guided by a qualified doctor who also gives regular dosages to keep the family members healthy. They do not take any healthy measures in their control. The other family that I visited solely believed in God for protection. They believed that going to seek medical care is blasphemy. When any one of them falls sick, he/she is taken to the church to receive thorough prayers. If they succumb to the illness, then it was God’s will. I found out that these three families exhibited considerable contrast between them in terms of beliefs on healthcare.

Common Health Traditions and Attitudes Towards Them

All the three families believe in nutrition to strengthen the body. Though some aspects and views differ, these traditions have similarities which bring them together. All the three families also believe in the search for a remedy whenever an illness occurs. These similarities can be used to bring the people in the different cultures together and provide the basis for unity (Helman 2000). Therefore, diversity in health traditions is fundamental to a society. These families are able to live together and coexist without conflict of interests. This proves that differences in health traditions are a basis for unity between people.

Conclusion

It is evident that general public health largely depends on culture competence of the medical practitioners. The heritage assessment tool has proved a useful tool in the building of cultural competence. Through it, medical practitioners have been able to learn more about people in the society. This helps them to gain a vast knowledge of problems present in different societies. It therefore, amounts to cultural competence and excellent delivery of services.

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