chronic illness and the family

2928 Words12 Pages
Chronic Illness and the Family Chronic illness is an experience that any family may face and profoundly impacts the lives of all members. Chronic illness does not discriminate. Every racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural group may find themselves dealing with the challenges that come with having a chronic illness (Gurman & Jacobson, 2002). Boice defines chronic illness as “a condition that persists for longer than three months and interferes with normal every day functioning” (p.927, 1998). In addition, Walsh (2003b) specifies that chronic illness is not a temporary condition; rather, it is a condition requires long-term maintenance. These definitions are important given current and future advances in medical technology that aid in the continual increase in the lifespan despite illness. In the past, individuals afflicted with medical conditions often did not live as long as individuals today that are inflicted with the same or similar problems (Walsh, 1998,2003b). Unfortunately, the primary focus of clinical attention to treating chronic illness traditionally focuses on the patient. This model focuses on the sick person and does not consider the impact illness has on the patient’s family members (Atwood & Weinstein, n.d.) In fact, the family may be seen as having an unfavorable influence on the patient’s adaptability (Walsh, 1998). The biopsychosocial model addresses the impact of illness for the patient and family. The biopsychosocial model is a medical model, proposed by psychiatrist George Engel (1977). This model views the mind and body as interconnected. As such, the biopsychosocial approach is sensitive to the influence illness has on the psychological, emotional, and social functioning on the patient and family (Piercy, Sprenkle, Wetchler, 1996). The biopsychosocial model considers the influence of the systems in which the patient and

More about chronic illness and the family

Open Document