When a child or adolescent experience a health or social issue this can affect all family members and the functioning of the family unit. Nurses working in acute care and community settings are often called upon to assist families to manage these situations. The strengths-based approach to family assessment focuses on the client or family competencies, resources and capacities, and can promote partnership in the development of clinician-client relationships.
Select ONE family case study from those listed below. Use the case study to identify the health and/or social issues affecting this family. Focus on one particular issue and discuss how this may influence the bio-psycho-social development of the child or adolescent, and the functioning of the family unit. Discuss the strengths and resources the family might draw upon to manage the identified issue. Critique relevant literature to discern evidence-based strategies the family may use to manage this specific issue. Discuss how the nurse may assist this family to build upon their strengths to implement the recommended strategies to achieve optimal health and wellbeing.
Case Study Three
Lifelong conditions in the school age child
Karen Patrick (34) is the mother of Scott (10) and Hayley (8), who was diagnosed with autism during her preschool years. The family lives with Bruce Kenny (32), Karen’s partner of two years. Bruce works full time in a local factory, and Karen works school hours as a shop assistant. They are currently paying off their home in Beenleigh, which is relatively small but quite comfortable.
Bruce has assumed the role of step-father very seriously, and tries to care for the children as if they were his own. He has formed a strong bond with Scott but has been unable to get close to Hayley despite his persistent efforts. He is mindful of not overstepping boundaries with the children’s birth father, Tom, who has shared custody of the children and takes them every second weekend.
Tom would like to have the children stay more often but he is away a lot with his job as a sales representative. In addition to this, his new wife, Linda, has made it very clear she does not enjoy the company of children. She is also very “house proud” and dislikes the mess the children make in the home.
Scott and Hayley attend the same mainstream school. This has proved challenging for Hayley who has difficulty communicating with her peers and will often fail to respond when people speak to her. She never initiates conversations and rarely makes eye contact with others. Periodically, Hayley becomes upset and anxious throughout the school day and tells the teacher she feels ill. She often refuses to eat her lunch and by the end of the school day is quite agitated and aggressive towards her family.
Karen was pleased she could modify her work arrangements to be there for Hayley in the afternoons, as she was having a great deal of difficulty settling into after-school care and was very disruptive of the other children. Karen has trouble getting Hayley to bathe and eat her dinner in the evening, and is exhausted by the time she finally manages to put her to bed.
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