Heritage Assessment Tool

Heritage Assessment Tool
Note: The greater the number of positive responses, the greater the person’s identification
with a traditional heritage. The one exception to positive answers is the question about
family name change. This question may be answered negatively.

  1. Where was your mother born?Trinidad__west indies______________
  2. Where was your father born? trinidad west indies______________________
  3. Where were your grandparents born?
    (1) Your mother�s mother?trinidad west indies______________________
    (2) Your mother�s father? trinidad west indies______________________
    (3) Your father�s mother? trinidad west indies________________________
    (4) Your father�s father? __Trinidad west indies__________________
  4. How many brothers 0__ and sisters 2 do you have?
  5. What setting did you grow up in? Urban _ Rural _x
    Suburban _
  6. What country did your parents grow up in?
    Father TRINIDAD__ Mother __TRINIDAD
  7. How old were you when you came to the United States? 29_
  8. How old were your parents when they came to the United
    States? Mother 44___ Father deceased in trinidad___
  9. When you were growing up, who lived with you? PARENTS_
  10. Have you maintained contact with
    a. Aunts, uncles, cousins? (1) Yes _ (2) No _XXXX
    b. Brothers and sisters? (1) Yes XXX__ (2) No
    c. Parents? (1) Yes _XXX
    (2) No _ d. Your own children? (1) Yes _XXXX (2) No _
  11. Did most of your aunts, uncles, cousins live near your home?
    (1) Yes XXX_ (2) No _


  1. Approximately how often did you visit your family members who
    lived outside your home?
    (1) Daily _ (2) Weekly (3) Monthly (4) Once
    a year or less XXX (5) Never __
  2. Was your original family name changed?
    (1) Yes XXX__ (2) No __
  3. What is your religious preference?
    (1) Catholic XXX__ (2) Jewish (3) Protestant
    (4) Denomination (5) Other
    (6) None ___xxxx
  4. Is your spouse the same religion as you?
    (1) Yes XXXX__ (2) No __
  5. Is your spouse the same ethnic background as you?
    (1) Yes XXX__ (2) No __
  6. What kind of school did you go to?
    (1) Public XXX__ (2) Private (3) Parochial _
  7. As an adult, do you live in a neighborhood where the neighbors
    are the same religion and ethnic background as yourself?
    (1) Yes _ (2) No _XXX
  8. Do you belong to a religious institution?
    (1) Yes __ (2) No __XXX
  9. Would you describe yourself as an active member?
    (1) Yes _ (2) No _XXXX
  10. How often do you attend your religious institution?
    (1) More than once a week _ (2) Weekly
    (3) Monthly _ (4) Special holidays only
    (5) Never __xxxx
  11. Do you practice your religion at home?

(1) Yes XXXX_ (2) No _ (If yes, please specify) (3) Praying __XXXX (4) Bible reading
(5) Diet _ (6) Celebrating religious holidays _

  1. Do you prepare foods of your ethnic background?
    (1) Yes XXXX__ (2) No __
  2. Do you participate in ethnic activities?
    (1) Yes XXXX_ (2) No _ (If yes, please verify) (3) Singing _XXX (4) Holiday celebrations _XXXX
    (5) Dancing _ (6) Festivals XXXX
    (7) Costumes (8) Other _
  3. Are your friends from the same religious background as you?
    (1) Yes XXXX_ (2) No _
  4. Are your friends from the same ethnic background as you?
    (1) Yes XXXXX_ (2) No _
  5. What is your native language? _ENGLISH
  6. Do you speak this language?
    (1) Prefer XXXX_ (2) Occasionally _ (3) Rarely _
  7. Do you read your native language?
    (1) Yes XXXXX_ (2) No _
    B O X 6 – 1 Heritage Assessment Tool
    Source: Spector, R. E. (2000). CulturalCare: Guide to heritage assessment and health

Heritage Assessment of Mr. X


The heritage assessment tool is comprised of a set of questions that could be employed to
evaluate a particular patient or an individual’s cultural, ethnic and religious heritage. It is
significant in conducting a heritage evaluation for the determination of the depth at which a
particular individual recognizes himself or herself with the specific culture. In addition, this tool
can also be used as framework in understanding an individual’s health history (Giger, 1995). The
concept behind this tool is that if an individual offers a high number of positive responses in the
heritage assessment, then such a person is poised to identify himself or herself with his or her
heritage. However, questions regarding the change of names for families may be an exception as
these individual may answer them negatively (Spector, 2000).
Individuals have different beliefs concerning diseases, their own health, birth and even
death. These aspects are mostly directly by the individual’s culture. Evaluation of an individual’s
heritage is a significant step with regard to establishment and understanding of an individual’s
traditional and cultural competency. This phenomenon identifies diversity in both cultural and
linguistic proficiency of the healthcare practitioners. An individual’s beliefs, language and
traditions pose a significant effect to both the patients and healthcare providers in the health care
systems. Though there are mainly 29 questions in the heritage assessment tool, the question are
an avenue for discussions concerning an individual’s beliefs on illnesses, health, religious
aspects, and family support. These aspects are compared with the individual values. This paper
presents the outcome of the assessment tool conducted on Mr. X, which indicates that Mr. X was
not inclined to his traditional heritage.

Mr. X, the person in the case study is a citizen of West Indies. The parents and
grandparents of both sides; that is the mother and fathers were all born in Trinidad. An
individual’s identification with his ethnic group means that there is a connection between him
and the group of which he beliefs to be sharing the same ancestry features. Though Mr. X had
lived with his parents during his childhood, his father was deceased while still in Trinad. Since
migration from Trinidad to United States, Mr. X indicates that he has not been in contact with his
distance relatives such as cousins, uncles and aunties. This is a pointer that that Mr. X is not so
much inclined to his heritage. He however, indicates that he has only been in contact with his
sisters, parents and his children, which is normal for any right-thinking person. This could be
understood a natural phenomena for people to be in contact with the closest blood.
Individuals share social experiences and features while leaving together. Cultural identity
is an individual’s identification with friends, parents or other family members where different
values are drawn. While in Trinad, Mr. X’s relative were leaving near their home. This means
that they used to share the cultural values derived from their heritage. However, the relationship
broke down once they migrated from Trinidad to US. A furthered indication of Mr. X’s lack of
orientation to his culture is the fact that he rarely visits his relatives and family members living
outside his home.
To some extent, Mr. X harbors some cultural aspects, which were probably instilled in
him by his parents, and relatives back in West Indies. Some of these are his choice of spouce and
friends from his ethnic group, preparation of foods from his ethnic background and participation
of various ethnic activities.

When an individual prefers to identify himself or herself with a particular cultural group,
such an individual is expected to identify his or herself with the culture and heritage of that
specific group. This may be through religion, language, choice of friends and endogamy (Sagar,
2011). To some extent Mr. X does not identify himself with his cultural background though there
are some cultural aspects he undertakes, he does not engage himself in most of the practices and
activities of his ethnic group. What is however, conspicuous is that he practices his catholic
religion even while at West Indies. He is also used to preparation of his ethnic foods and
involves himself in some ethnic activities such as dancing, festivals and holiday celebrations.
Mr. X’s native language happens to be English, which he prefers to use in
communicating with other people. Another thing to note is that Mr. X cannot be identified with
his religious background since his preference is Catholicism. Even though Mr. X does not
identify himself with any religious institution, he is noted to regularly attending weekly church
services. In addition, most of his friends also come from the same religious background as him.
According to spector, religious identity means that members identify themselves with that
particular religion with disregard to whether they actually participate or perform the specific
religious activities. Since the religious responses of Mr. X in the heritage assessment are
negative, it means that he does not identify himself with his cultural, religious and ethnic
heritage. If indeed the person had identified himself with his cultural heritage, it would have
meant that most of the responses and not just a few noted above would have been positive.
However, most of his responses on his heritage were negative. Therefore, this led to the
conclusion of his lack of identity to his traditional heritage.

Understanding of the information regarding cultural, ethnic and religious identity is
crucial since as a healthcare practitioner, it will make it possible to conduct evaluations relating
to an individual’s cultural, ethnic and religious background. This information will further be
helpful especially when performing a heritage evaluation, which will subsequently facilitate the
determination of how the specific individual identifies himself or herself with a particular
heritage. Furthermore, such information will act as a framework not only for me but also for
other health practitioners to comprehend the health status and history of a patient. Sagar, 2011
points out that when the heritage assessment tool generates greater number of positive
responses, it translates that he or she is identifying himself or herself with his traditional
inheritance. Understanding the ethnic, cultural and religious background assist an individual or
health practitioner in being able to clearly define the health and or illness status of a patient in a
manner that is holistic.
Heath practitioners who have fully knowledge of a client’s background are at a better
position in provision of the so needed assistance to the patient. Further, practitioners should
understand various cultural values and biases, health practices as well as individual beliefs of all
the clients served by him or her.



Giger, J.N. and Davidhizar, R.E. (1995),”Transcultural Nursing Assessment and Intervention”,
2nd ed. St. Louis: Mosby, 1995, pp. 19, 43, 61, 89, 113, and 127.
Spector, R. E. (2000). “CulturalCare: Guide to heritage assessment and health traditions”,
McGraw Hill.
Sagar, P (2011). “Tran cultural nursing theory” Springer