Family’s Importance for the Health of Our Society


As an institution, the family contributes a significant part in promotion of health of its members. A family promotes the health of its members in several ways. In the development of an individual, behaviours that significantly affect the health of the individual are acquired from the family. This is because the family is the cardinal institution in which a person develops in the early stages of life. Moreover, the individual may live in a new family setting if he or she forms another family. Perceptions and attitudes towards health and healthy practices are acquired from the family (Friedman et al, 2003). Health is best promoted through appropriate health practices within a family, rather than education in other institutions.

Family System in Promotion of Health

Promotion of health in a family means that the health status of people in the family is enhanced. This phenomenon does not mean that promotion of health is curing an existing disease or preventing development of disease, but it means maintaining and promoting health of family members. Health promotion in a family means that members are in the best health condition (Urden et al, 2008). Generally, health promotion in a family involves all people including those who do not have any existing clinical condition, and is functional even in a family where no health risk is anticipated (Friedman et al, 2003).

Promotion of health in a family as a system means enhancement of health within the family system and other systems with which it interacts. Health can be promoted in a family setting just as it is emphasized for an individual. Promotion of health in a family system entails maintaining good health without focussing on avoiding particular ailments. This reduces mental and physical strain in the process of maintaining and enhancing health in a family (Muñoz & Luckmann, 2005).

Dorothy Orem’s Conceptual Model of Family in Nursing Care

In critical nursing, Dorothy Orem’s model of nursing within a family system applies best when nursing involves individuals who cannot adequately ensure self-care. If the effect of the clinical condition that an individual is suffering from is too overwhelming for the afflicted person to manage, then additional nursing care is needed. This is the concept of family in relation to nursing care, and particularly critical nursing. This concept puts family in a position to interact with other nursing care providers such as trained medical personnel and nursing professionals to provide critical care for the individual who needs it. In this essence, the family is regarded as the entity that is closest to the person being cared for, but it may need crucial assistance from professional nursing care experts. In case of serious terminal or long-term diseases, this model is used to provide critical nursing care (Friedman et al, 2003).

In addition to care given to an incapacitated family member, Orem’s theory can accommodate the idea of a family as a single unit, which can takes care of itself, and may seek the assistance of an expert nursing care professional. However, this does not mean that the family is subject to direct nursing care. The family may act as a client since it is the larger unit that accommodates the individuals who need the nursing care (Friedman et al, 2003).

This model of critical nursing care is important since the family, which is any individual’s closest social and economic unit, is involved in the care of the afflicted person. The flexibility of this model to include help from professional nursing care expert makes it a suitable approach in dealing with critical nursing. However, this concept of family as a setback in its application since the ability of family members to determine the best action for a certain clinical condition varies, and may sometimes fail to be appropriate (Clochesy, 1996).

Systems Theory of Family In Relation To Critical Nursing

When viewed from the perspective of social science, there are several theories regarding families that are important in ensuring good health within a family, and for an individual in particular (Clochesy,1996). Systems theory is most appropriate for critical care. When providing critical care, it is important to consider that the person receiving the care is part of a larger family system with extensive interaction.

The professional nurse providing care focuses on the entire family, and considers the effect of other members on the care given to an individual. This is justified by the nature of systems theory, which advocates for evaluation of the family unit as consisting of individuals who act as small systems, which affect each other when they are going about their actions (Friedman et al, 2003). This model is most appropriate for critical nursing since it helps the nursing professional provide nursing care with the effect of family affiliations on the methodologies used in mind.


The family system is important in the field of nursing, and particularly in critical nursing care. When a family system is viewed as a subject of nursing care, members of the family strive to maintain good health, which in turn leads to an aggregate of high health standard for the family as system. An individual member of a family can maintain good health through skills learnt from other family members. Moreover, the members of a family influence each other on health issues depending on the level and quality of communication among them. Even professional nurses have to involve family units in their nursing schemes.


Clochesy, J. M. (1996). Critical care nursing (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: Saunders.

Friedman, M. M., Bowden, V. R., & Jones, E. (2003). Family nursing: research, theory & practice (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.

Muñoz, C. C., & Luckmann, J. (2005). Transcultural communication in nursing (2nd ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Thomson/Delmar Learning.

Urden, L. D., Stacy, K. M., & Lough, M. E. (2008). Priorities in critical care nursing (5th ed.). St. Louis, Mo.: Mosby/Elsevier.