Anatomy of illness paper, part 2, 6page, double space


This 6 page double spaced typed final portion of this assignment will be submitted along with Part 1 (with any edits, additions, corrections based on instructor feedback) as a final whole product which could serve as a part of a professional portfolio.

Your task in Part 2 is to investigate and report on the individual experience of this condition/illness. The purpose of this exercise is to help you examine what you have learned about the definitions and meanings of illness, responses to it, and other social and interpersonal processes that inevitably accompany human disease. 

Most of us learn within our families of origin how to behave when ill, and what to expect from treatment, medicines, and professional caregivers and family members.  Understandings of and explanations for illness and health are also learned along with other values and orientations to the world.  Illness behaviors include attentiveness to pain and symptoms, definitions of symptoms, significance and meaning attached to illness, the timing and source of seeking help, expectations of treatment, roles in treatment, changes in role performance, changes in relations with others, and a variety of other factors.  Social and cultural family traditions and values often influence these illness behaviors.

Your sources for information may include, but are not limited to: books, peer reviewed professional articles, blogs, websites, research reports, personal accounts from a person with this illness in books, articles, blogs, specific health condition focused agencies or community-based organizations, family, or friends as well as your own experience, worldview and beliefs about the meaning of this illness.  You must have at least 4 peer reviewed literature references in addition to any other sources of information you choose.

  1. Meaning of the Illness/Condition
  • What is known about general societal attitudes, believes and assumptions about this condition?
    • Describe how individual health beliefs might affect a patient’s or family’s response to, or ability to cope with, this health condition. How might beliefs vary by race/ethnicity, cultural or religious values and preferences, age, gender, SES, sexual orientation?
    • Describe how certain social structures or environmental conditions (e.g., racism, sexism, health care delivery systems, family systems or culturally-based values or traditions, social norms, social support, etc.) affect a patient’s or family’s response to, or ability to cope with, this health condition.
    • How do you react to this diagnosis based on your own family belief systems about health, treatment, this condition?

2. Psychosocial Impact

  • What psychosocial stressors might an individual/family face with this health condition? How might these stressors vary at different times along the continuum of care? How might these stressors vary based on individuals’ demographic status and social identities (socio-economic status, race/ethnic status, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender)
  • Describe the psychosocial demands of this illness/health problem as you anticipate the continuum of care that began at diagnosis and will continue through future phases of treatment (or non-treatment), and transitions to off-treatment or the end-of-life.
  • How might life change for a person, their caregivers and family if and when treatment starts? When it stops?
  • What is known from research that may help anticipate what a person and their family might need in terms of information, practical support, emotional support, and social support? How might these needs vary at different times along the continuum of care?
  • What is known about professional caregiver experience and stress in working with this particular population of clients. What are caregiver issues regarding providing services to this population?
  • What community supports, specialized organizations, websites and support groups/blogs exist for this condition? Please list specific supports found or the lack of supports and what significance this has for you.
  • What factors appear to facilitate or enable people with this condition to cope with these challenges? What factors appear to challenge coping?
  1. Social Work Role

Discuss the role of social work/your discipline in influencing this health problem, its course of illness, and individuals’ or families’ abilities to cope across a continuum of care.

  • Using what you have learned from this course, readings and literature review, what might an integrated approach to care look like?
  • What are your ideas about how a health social work (or your health discipline if not social work) might support a patient in addressing, supporting, educating them regarding their diagnosis and treatment.
  • What are roles for a social worker/your discipline in providing support and assistance as it relates to your disease/condition?
  1. Final Personal Reflection
    • You have explored your diagnosis all semester. How has this assignment impacted your understanding of the behavioral, psychological and ecological aspects of health and disease, views and awareness about this condition? Chronic illnesses in general?The patient/client/family experience?
    • Articulate your learning about the vital role of social work/your discipline in addressing needs individuals, families, and staff in a health setting?
    • Describe core learning you take from this assignment and how you might use this learning in your future social work practice/health discipline practice and how your work with clients.
    • What other observations, analysis or comments do you wish to make?

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