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Families and Chronic Illness, Research Paper Example

Pages: 1

Words: 1305

Research Paper

Abstract

Warnings of World Health Organization are that chronic, non-communicable diseases are rapidly becoming a universal epidemic. Early life, bioaccumulated toxicants, and ongoing exposures are some of the causes ascribed to chronic diseases. However, genetics, nutrition, and lifestyle are also other causes of the illness. In 1996, statistics taken indicate that as the population ages the figure of the populace with chronic illness increases. To the Canadian government, this health burden has affected the work done by nurses and this direct impact is experienced by the community and institutions. In chronic diseases, there is a multidimensional experience because the entire family feels the pain of the illness. This research paper gives an etiology (causes and prevalence), considerations for treatment, which includes cultural and gender issues, and the contraindications for treatment of chronic illnesses. The focus will be on chronic diseases in Canada. Additionally, the paper will show how family members of this couple are affected by the chronic illness. Methodologies presented by scholars give evidence of how chronic illnesses result in multiple risk factors that interact in a multitude way and, which lead to susceptibility to negative outcomes of health.

Introduction

Chronic is an unremitting condition that is persistent over an extended period.  It is long-standing since it is not easily resolved. In Canada, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease are the most prevalent chronic diseases. The categories include communicable (hepatitis C and AIDS/ HIV) or non-communicable, mental (schizophrenia) or physical chronic diseases. Asthma, arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and mental illness (anxiety, depression and stress) are also prevalent chronic diseases. Their consequences, which include reduced life quality, life loss, lost productivity, and family stress, are far-reaching. The Atlantic province in Canada is characterized by social, health, and economic inequalities with potential consequences for the entire populations’ health. They have a smaller proportionate national wealth share as compared to other parts of Canada, high unemployment rates, lower incomes, and poor health profiles. In addition, they experience high smoking rates, physical inactivity, and obesity.  For example, those living in Labrador have lower life expectancy than residents of St. John’s.

Single mothers and their children, immigrants and refugees, Aboriginal people, the elderly, racialized groups, visible minorities (Galabuzi, 2004) are examples of low-income groups with worse health due to poor diet, physical inactivity, and obesity. These social and economic factors are symptoms underlying the increase of chronic illnesses. The economy of countries struggles to develop in the face of rising costs of healthcare, pervasive suffering of individuals, truncated opportunities, and beleaguered families who care for their afflicted loved ones (Adelson, 2005). This is because workers fall ill during their productive years.

Etiology

Individuals’ particular chronic disease cases are assessed in clinical context and are linked to behavioral factors. However, incidence causes in the population may be diverse, but within social environments lays the understanding of chronic disease development. As a result, provides individuals with the best prevention intervention opportunities. In the current literature, proximal risk factors that contribute to the burden of chronic disease include tobacco smoking, physical inactivity, and poor diet among others. Other factors that need considerations include distal factors (social environmental), socio-economic status, and components of the physical and built environments, socio-demographics, and social relationships. This affects many Canadians because of the operation on the population level and thus, the listed factors lead to the development of chronic disease.

The burden of illness in Canada and Ontario, examinations use prevalence rates or age-standardized mortality and morbidity rates. Higher prevalence and incidence rates are due to more people having a disease, earlier detection, and better treatment or diagnosis to enable people with a condition live longer. According to surveys, prevalence for men increases more with age than for women. It is necessary to have better available data for both prevalence and occurrence of chronic disease in Canada (World Health organization, 2005). In Canada, prevalence is increasing dramatically and increases with age. In conclusion, prevalence of chronic disease and their outcomes are related to distal social environmental factors and health system characteristics, as well as, societal organization and service in general.

Treatment considerations

Behavioral change of individuals is acknowledged as the goal of chronic disease prevention, but “point of attack” needs to be changed. This can be attained through incorporating into action the rhetoric of population health. Comprehensive tactics applied by both policy initiatives (like taxation, access limitations, regulation, and point of decision interventions) and clinical interventions serve as lessons critical in the development of comprehensive strategies that address chronic disease and general health. Individuals and families struggle to cope with chronic disease impacts.

Existing literature suggests chronic disease prevention (World Health Organization, 2005) be based within an ecological model since it takes into account population and individual. Arguments are based on incorporating multiple health determinants over life course, integration, use of best practices, social justice, flexibility in approach, more social environment research, and capacity-building. Prevention of chronic disease involves surveillance, multiple media, strategies, intervention levels, stakeholders, capacity-building, ongoing development, and research.

Individual demands on those with chronic disease are generated by direct disease effects, and its treatment includes decreased social activity, fears and loss of strength. Common disruptions include the way individuals perceive the world (their personal integrity and sense of predictability), environmental transactions like health services and the social network. Families also experience demands especially when dealing with school, work environments and extended family. Additionally, pressures change the internal processes of the family in making decisions and their interactions with family roles.

Support accorded by family members includes family cohesiveness, expressiveness, access to a spouse who is supportive, specific family interaction to self-care regiments, and supportive family members’ behaviors. Outside the family unit, patients also contribute in supporting them through their organizational involvement, confidant access, increased amount of social contact, leisure activities participation, and increased social networks in terms of friends and relatives. Family members’ accord patient’s means of how to cope like giving them information about chronic illness, opportunity to discuss concerns in an open forum, which has enabled individuals cope (Costain & Croker, 2005).

Gender and cultural issues also participate in treatment of patients by looking at their cultural backgrounds and gender related issues. These issues should be taken into consideration because some patients are keen in following their cultural backgrounds when it comes to treatment of illnesses. Gender issues come in when communities view women as being inferior members of the community and thus, are put on a balance of not being treated and vice versa. However, men do not fall victims of such issues because they are sole bread winners of their families and are seen as the heritage of their family lineage.

In the presence of severe depression, pregnancy, drug addiction, severe anemia, liver failure, recent organ transplantation, and failure during treatment to apply contraceptive measures, are some of the contraindications of chronic disease treatment.

Conclusion

The prevention of chronic disease has a comprehensive framework that links multiple risk factor levels, multiple strategies, and multiple stakeholders. Developed interventions are flexible due to the inclusion of multiple health determinants and stakeholders as they understand multiple responsibility levels. The framework incorporates the ecological model and includes population and individual level of intervention areas. A comprehensive prevention strategy of chronic disease inculcates surveillance, policy and program development, ongoing research, coordination and infrastructure sustainability. Dialogue between stakeholders needs to be promoted in order to set realistic goals for the establishment of future directions and current best practices involving chronic disease prevention. Resources and knowledge necessitate putting them in place in order to fulfill the goals.

References

Adelson, N. (2005). The embodiment of inequity: Health disparities in Aboriginal Canada. Canadian

Journal of Public Health, 96, S45-S61.

Costain, L. & Croker, H. (2005). Helping individuals to help themselves. Proceedings of the

 Nutrition Society, 64, 89-96.

Galabuzi, G. E. (2004). Social Exclusion. In D. Raphael (Ed.), Social Determinants of Health:

 Canadian Perspectives (pp. 235-251). Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.

World Health Organization (2005). Preventing Chronic Diseases: A Vital Investment.

Geneva: World Health Organization.

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