The Importance of Family in Hispanic Culture
BrainLine talked with Dr. Carlos Arango-Lasprilla about how the role of family differs culture to culture, especially when a family member is ill or injured.
In Hispanic culture, family is very important, and one of the things that we think when the family has an injury or has an illness, we think that there is not anybody that can provide the best care for my family member than me. And usually it's very common when you have a brain injury or a spinal cord injury that you see at the hospital, like 20, 50, 60 people over there trying to help the person, working, doing some rehabilitation exercises with the patient, talk with the patient--like just some company all the time. And I think it's very important for our culture to have this family in the moment that you really, really need help, and I think the family is, I would say, the biggest provider of care for people from the Hispanic background. Usually, in our culture we consider the immediate family-- we consider cousin, nephews, everybody as a part of our family. People in the community, I can tell you, when my brother had the TBI, the doctor said that he won't be able to walk, he will have to stay at home every single day, he will have a lot of cognitive problems. But when we took my brother home, my family and everybody in the community started helping him, teaching him how to eat again, how to walk, helping him with the memory problem that he had, and everybody was involved in the rehabilitation as part of our big family, and I think it's very important. I think it's something that I haven't seen too much here in this country.
Posted on BrainLine April 1, 2009.
Juan Carlos Arango-Lasprilla, PhD is currently a research assistant professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is well-known in his areas of expertise, both in the US and abroad.