Systemic General Health Assessment of a Child and Family Assessment

Systemic General Health Assessment of a Child and Family Assessment

Definition of Family Assessment:

Family Assessment is a central part of public health and community, health, nursing practice. These tools will serve as cues to assist the nurse in making key observations about how families live, work and play together.

Health assessment of a child
Fig: Health assessment of a child

Important Components of Family Assessment:

The important components of the family assessment are –

1. Family structure:

It refers to the composition of the family who live in the home and those social, cultural, religious and economic characteristics that influence the child’s and family’s overall psychological health. The principle areas of concerns include–

  • Family composition,
  • Home and community environment,
  • Occupation and education of family members,
  • Cultural and religious traditions.

2. Family function:

It is concern with how the family members behave toward one another and the quality of the relationship. The functions of family are –

  • Physical: The family provides a safe, comfortable environment necessary for growth, development and rest of recuperation.
  • Economic: Family provides financial and to family members and also helps meet monetary needs of society.
  • Reproduction: The reproductive function of the family is raising children.
  • Affective and coping: It involves providing emotional comfort to family members.
  • Socialization: The family teaches; transmit beliefs, values, attitudes etc.

Guidelines for Families’ Functional Health Pattern Assessment:

The Following Guidelines Provide Information On Family Functioning:

  • Health perception-health management pattern,
  • Nutritional-metabolic pattern,
  • Elimination pattern,
  • Activity-exercise pattern,
  • Sleep-rest Pattern,
  • Cognitive-perceptual pattern,
  • Self-perception-self-concept pattern,
  • Roles-relationship pattern,
  • Sexuality-reproductive pattern,
  • Coping-stress-tolerance pattern,
  • Values-beliefs Pattern.

Systemic General Health Assessment of a Child:

1. Cardiovascular system:

  • Dyspnea (exertional, orthopnea),
  • Cyanosis,
  • Ascites,
  • Clubbing,
  • Enlarged tender liver,
  • Respiratory sign – crepitations.

2. Respiratory system:

  • Cough,
  • Dyspnea,
  • Cyanosis,
  • Clubbing,
  • Wheeze,
  • Hemoptysis,
  • Sputum,
  • Stridor,
  • Grunting.

3. Abdomen general examination:

  • Pallor,
  • Wasting,
  • Koilonychia,
  • Stomatitis, gingivitis,
  • Fetor hepaticas,
  • Jaundice,
  • Clubbing.

4. Nervous system:

Motor function:

  • Tone of muscles,
  • Bulk of muscles,
  • Muscle strength.


  • Superficial,
  • Deep.

Sensory function:

  • Position sense,
  • Pain,
  • Temperature,
  • Vibration,
  • Tactile sensibility,
  • Recognition of – size, shape, form, weight and texture of objects.

Mental faculty:

  • Appearance,
  • Behavior,
  • Emotional state,
  • Orientation of place and time,
  • Memory,
  • Intelligence,
  • Speech,
  • Apraxia.

5. Locomotor system:

  • Deformity,
  • Any swelling,
  • Impaired movement,
  • Tenderness – bone, joints, muscle, tendons.

Important Point for General Examination during Child Assessment:

  • Appearance,
  • Built,
  • Nutrition,
  • Facies,
  • Anemia,
  • Cyanosis,
  • Jaundice,
  • Oedema,
  • Dehydration,
  • Clubbing,
  • Koilonychia,
  • Leukonychia,
  • Fontanel,
  • Pulse,
  • Blood pressure,
  • Respiratory rate,
  • Temperature,
  • Lymph node,
  • Skin condition,
  • Anthropometric measurement,
  • Height,
  • Weight,
  • OFC (Occiputofronal Circumference),
  • MUAC (Mid Upper Arm Circumference),
  • Examination of natural orifices.

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