Functional disabilities constitute disabilities that impose additional difficulties on individuals in performing basic everyday tasks or complex motions required for independent sustenance (Giddens, 2021). The types of functional disabilities include physical, psychological, cognitive, and social (Giddens, 2021). Physical disabilities prevent individuals from physically performing certain activities. An example of such would be the loss of a limb. Psychological issues include depression, mental blocks, schizophrenia, and other similar conditions (Giddens, 2021). Cognitive issues are associated with sight and hearing impairments. Finally, social issues include various conditions that prevent an individual from being a functional member of society.
The three significant risk factors that may expose an individual to functional disabilities include socioeconomic factors, physical or psychological trauma or disease, and age. Socioeconomic factors are associated with the likelihood of trauma – individuals living in poverty are more likely to take high-risk jobs or engage in criminal behavior (Giddens, 2021). The presence of earlier physical and psychological trauma is likely to exacerbate existing conditions or lead to other incidents of acquiring a functional disability (Giddens, 2021). Finally, different ages pose different likelihoods of trauma and make recovery more or less likely.
Family dynamics are an important factor to consider to care for diverse patients with functional disabilities. These dynamics are motivated by cultural and socioeconomic factors affecting the patient. Black populations, for example, often feature incomplete families with one parent taking care of the child (Giger & Haddad, 2021). As such, if either of them suffers from a disability, they have fewer people to assist them. Cultures with large families and strong ties, however, offer a wider social assistance network. Thus, treatment plants should account for how many individuals are available to help the person in question (Giger & Haddad, 2021). The cultural dimension also comes into play when the willingness to assist is considered – in some cultures certain forms of disability are viewed as a spiritual weakness (Giger & Haddad, 2021). Therefore, cultural competence is paramount when treating diverse patients, as without it the process of healing and support will be less effective.
Giddens, J. F. (2021). Concepts for nursing practice (3rd ed.). Elsevier.
Giger, J. N., & Haddad, L. G. (2021). Transcultural nursing (8th ed.). Mosby.