Why Are Gordon’s Health Functions Important to Assess?

­­­Gordon’s health functions provide a comprehensive nursing assessment of patients during the nursing process. Eleven categories covering health and human function are part of this assessment tool created by Marjorie Gordon in 1987. The structure provides a holistic approach to the nursing assessment process.

The categories of Gordon’s functional health patterns include health perception and health management, nutrition and metabolic assessment, elimination, activity and exercise, and cognition and perception. Additional areas of the assessment include sleep and rest, self-perception and self-concept, roles and relationships, and sexuality and reproduction. The final categories of Gordon’s functional health pattern assessment covers coping and stress tolerance and values and belief.

Assessment is the first step in the nursing process. It involves the collection, verification, organization, interpretation and documentation of data collected during the process. Subjective data and objective data are collected during the assessment process. Subjective data includes information such as a client’s feelings, perceptions and concerns. Objective data includes measurable variables obtained via observation, physical examination and diagnostic tests.

Interviewing patients by asking questions is a common assessment tool. Open-ended questions are used to collect detailed information about a problem or concern. Closed-ended questions are answered with a yes, no or short answers. This questioning tactic provides specific and targeted information.