In 2012 the United States Census Bureau estimated there will be roughly 20 million new immigrants living in the U.S. over the next two decades. The results will be an increase of different cultures and traditions which healthcare workers will need to consider within their practice. The goal of this paper is to show the reader the usefulness of the Heritage Assessment tool when it is used to evaluate the individual’s needs in relation to culture and tradition. The author of the paper will share with the reader the interviews of families from three different cultures (the first being her own) and explore the common health traditions of their cultures and how the families subscribe to the traditions.
Heritage Assessment tool
The usefulness of the heritage assessment tool is to give the provider a way to understand the role of culture and traditions and how it affects the way a patient views health and illness. The tool uses simple questions regarding cultural background of an individual such as: the relationship of family members, religious beliefs, ethnic activities and language. At the end of the assessment the nurse will have a better idea of how the individual identifies with a particular culture and traditions.
Mexican and Iraqi health culture and traditions
The author of this paper is of Mexican heritage. Her grandmother came over from Mexico when she was a small child. The author of the paper was brought up in a large Mexican family and attended a small catholic church where she also went to school. It was important to attend mass several times weekly and ask god to forgive you for your sins. Food and religion was a major part of any holiday. They typically consisted of attending mass followed by a big meal that almost always included beans cooked from lard, fried red meat and cheese. The grandparents and extended family played a role in raising the smaller children. Children would stay with grandparents, aunts and uncles daily while the parents were at work. The extended family also cared for other members of the family who were sick or dying. This allowed the person who is sick to remain in the home while they pass, surrounded by family. The seven sacraments of the Catholic Church are significant in the culture. Example: when babies are born it is extremely important that they are baptized, which according to Catholicism, ensures their entrance into heaven. The author of this paper married a man who emigrated to the U.S. from Iraq when he was ten years of age. Islam is the major religion of his family and Arabic is the main language spoken. Traditionally in the Islamic religion the people pray five times daily. They come together as a community and pray for those who are ill. Their diet usually includes fresh foods from the market; lentils, beans, rice and lamb. Extended family members live with each other and help raise the younger children. Traditional remedies were used to keep illness away; they often included garlic and ginger.
The author of this paper tries to combine the two cultures to make the best overall life for her and her family. The author believes in god and spirituality to guide her to make good decisions, but she does not wish to belong to a particular religion. She prays, with her children nightly before bed, for the sick and suffering. She does incorporate alternative therapies such as chiropractic and massage to aid in her health. The author also enjoys health activities for her and her family to maintain a healthy weight. The author of the paper and her family cook at home almost always using more traditional foods from the author’s husband’s heritage because it has been proven to be the healthier option.
Yemen heath Culture and traditions
The first interview was a man who immigrated into the United States from Yemen 15 years ago. The main language in Yemen is Arabic and the main religion is Islam. The