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The Gilmore Family

Introduction Richard Gilmore Richard Gilmore was 78-years old when he died of a myocardial infarction. He was a wealthy businessman who started his own insurance company. He married his wife, Emily, after they both graduated from Yale. They settled down in Hartford, Connecticut and raised a family. Richard would work and his wife Emily would plan for events and gatherings. He was always affectionate and showed love and support for his wife. He and his only daughter, Lorelai, never had a close relationship. They always argued and the only time they would spend together was during their mandatory friday night dinners. Richard and his grand-daughter, Rory, had a very close bond. He and Rory would talk about books, movies, and politics. Richard was stubborn and believed he was always doing the right thing. Before his unexpected death, he had a myocardial infarction in 2006, and he had struggled to maintain his health for years.

Myocardial infarction is when the blood flow bringing oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. This is a result of coronary arteries, that supply the heart muscle with blood flow, becomes narrow from a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances that together are called plaque. When a plaque in a heart artery breaks, a blood clot forms around the plaque. This blood clot can block the blood flow through the heart muscle. When damage or death of part of the heart muscle occurs as a result of ischemia, it is called a heart attack or myocardial infarction (AHA, 2016).

Meet the Gilmores Emily Gilmore (Wife) Emily Gilmore is a 75-year old elegant and poise woman from a high class and wealthy family. She enjoys planning and attending charity events for her community. She does not have a job because Richard completely supports her spending problem. She is extremely overbearing and protective of her daughter and granddaughter, which is why she does not have a close relationship with them. She has trouble expressing her emotions towards anyone as she believes it is a sign of weakness. After the sudden death of her husband of over 40 years, she acts as if nothing has changed and refuses to mourn over her loss. Emily constantly tries to get Lorelai’s attention by buying expensive items and by being over dramatic.

Lorelai Gilmore (Daughter) Lorelai Gilmore, daughter of Emily and Richard, is a 49-year old free-spirited single mom who owns a small inn. She was pregnant with her daughter, Rory, at 16 years old. She and Rory have an extremely close relationship and they can always depend on each other for support. When she became pregnant she ran away from home to start her own family without her overbearing parents in Stars Hollow, Connecticut. She wanted Rory to receive the best education possible, and to do so she had to ask for money from her parents. As the years went by, Lorelai became closer to her parents but never fully trusted them or forgave them for all the years she felt abandoned when she was a kid. After her father’s death, she did not shed a tear. Lorelai could not give a speech at her father’s funeral because she believed she did not have a single good memory of him.

Rory Gilmore (Granddaughter) Rory Gilmore, daughter of Lorelai, is a 32-year old sophisticated and ambitious single woman with an Ivy league education with a goal of becoming a journalist. She is struggling to become a successful journalist after the death of her grandfather who has always supported her goals. Rory and her mother struggle to cope with their loss, but they have each other for emotional support. Rory has been distant from her grandmother ever since she lost her grandfather. Rory struggles with intimacy because she has difficulty forming emotional connection with others. Her career is her number one priority and she places it above everything else in her life.

Culture/traditions Duvall According to Duvall’s Family Developmental Theory, there are eight stages. This theory is based on the oldest child. The Gilmores are in the middle-aged parent stage. It is based on the oldest child, Lorelai. Lorelai’s daughter has left home and is starting a life of her own. (Kaakinen, Coehlo, Steele, Tabacco, &Hanson 2015)

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The Gilmores are not affiliated with any religion. Friday night dinners at Emily and Richard’s house at 7pm. Graduating from Yale University Joining the committee of the Daughters of American Revolution. Coming out to society at the Debutante Ball Attending charity events Attending the Harvard V.S. Yale football game each year Having breakfasts at Luke’s

Strengths ●

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They are wealthy and resourceful with many connections to the community. They always call each other at least once a week. The Gilmores are persistent. Emily, Lorelai and Rory never give up on each other. The Gilmores are always supportive of each other even when they are on bad terms. Rory always try to help her mother and grandmother reconnect.

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They have poor communication skills ○ Silent treatments and sarcasm is their coping mechanism They are unable to forgive each other The do not like to verbalize their feelings and they tend to hide their emotions. They do not want to appear vulnerable. They bribe each other to get what they want Emily and Lorelai are both overbearing mothers. Lack of spirituality

Communication Practices The Gilmores meet once a week for Friday night dinners, and that is when they discuss any new events in their lives. The Gilmores’ main coping mechanism during an argument is to use sarcasm or give each other the silent treatment. When Richard and Emily argued they would yell at each other until one of them goes in the room and gives into the other. Richard and Emily had the tendency to communicate using hand gestures when they were angry to express their outrage. When Lorelai would fight with her parents she would be extremely sarcastic and hurtful. For example, she would compare her mother to dictators. It is extremely rare for Lorelai and Rory to fight, but when they do, it becomes completely blown out of proportion and they will not speak to each other for months. Lorelai and Rory would express their emotions with their face either with an eye-roll or a head shake. The Gilmores tend to cross their arms when they feel uncomfortable during confrontations. During arguments, the Gilmores may seem apathetic and not compassionate towards one another, but deep down they only want what is best for each other.

The Family Systems Theory The Family Systems Theory states that any change in one family member affects all members of the family (Kaakinen, Coehlo, Steele, Tabacco, &Hanson 2015). When a family member experiences a health event, all members are affected because they are all connected (Kaakinen et. al, 2015). The effect of the unexpected event varies in intensity and quality with each family member (Kaakinen et. al, 2015). The nurse who cared for Richard prior to his death, must tend to the families needs now that he has passed. The goal of the nurse caring for this family after this tragedy is to restore the stability of the family and help them achieve the highest level of functioning they can (Kaakinen et. al, 2015). The nurse must encourage the family to communicate effectively with one another so they can express their emotions, thoughts, and concerns. Lorelai may feel a sense of guilt because they never had a strong bond and it is essential she communicates her feelings so her guilt may diminish. The nurse must also help each family member define their new roles and how they are able to support each other during this challenging time. The informal and informal roles of this family are affected by Richard’s death (Kaakinen et. al, 2015). The nurse can facilitate with their transition into the grieving process because they have difficulting expressing their emotions. They should be encouraged to continue with their traditions so his legacy will live on.

Four concepts in Family Systems Theory: 1. All parts of the system are interconnected (Kaakinen et. al, 2015). a. After Richard’s death, it had an effect on each family member.. They stopped communicating effectively and truthfully with each other. 2. The whole is more than the sum of its parts (Kaakinen et. al, 2015). a. They are a family experiencing stress and sadness over the death of Richard; each of them is individually affected, but so is the family as a whole affected by this unexpected death (Kaakinen et. al, 2015). 3. All systems have form of boundaries or borders between the system and the environment (Kaakinen et. al, 2015). a. The Gilmores have a flexible boundary. They would reject the idea of meeting with a social worker, but may be open to therapy. 4. Systems can be further organized into subsystems (Kaakinen et. al, 2015). a. Within the Gilmore family there are subsystems which includes grandparents to parent, parent to child, and grandparents to grandchild.

Interventions for the Gilmore Family


Problem: The family does not communicate their emotions, thoughts or concerns appropriately. Emily and Lorelai pretend they are handling their loss perfectly by lying to each other. When they do try to communicate their concerns, they end up screaming and in tears which results in them both shutting their emotions down. The tension between Emily and Lorelai causes an emotional and mental strain on Rory because she is forced to become the mediator.

Interventions: Encourage each family member to discuss how Richard’s death has affected them individually by creating an open and safe environment. Outcome: The Gilmore family will individually openly and effectively communicate their thoughts, feelings, and concerns on how Richard’s death has affected each of them. Rationale: It is significant that each family member feels support to express their difficult emotions, and given permission, within a safe environment, to explore all feelings and memories whether positive or negative. Exploring each individual’s emotions will eventually lead them to develop an effective coping mechanism (Hill, 2015).

Interventions for the Gilmore Family 2.

Problem: The Gilmores are not coping appropriately in response to Richard’s death. Emily is trying to sell all of her possessions because everything reminds her of Richard, Lorelai goes to California without her family to escape from her problems and Rory goes to Europe and has an affair with a married man. Interventions: The nurse should help facilitate each family member to identify their coping mechanism in response to stress. Outcome: Individual family members will identify their negative and positive coping mechanisms. Positive coping mechanisms will be incorporated into the family system in response to Richard’s death. Rationale: When a loved one has passed, the healthiest way to cope is through managing stress. The ability to be flexible and adjust to new roles during times of loss will allow them to slowly adapt to life without their loved ones (Dockendorff, 2014).

Interventions for the Gilmore Family 3. Problem: The Gilmores feel a sense of guilt and regret after Richard’s death. Lorelai feels guilty for not having a close relationship with her father. She avoids thinking about her father completely, because she will be overwhelmed with guilt and regret for not being a better daughter to him. Rory regrets not talking to her grandfather because she was consumed with her own personal life. Emily feels guilty for taking her husband for granted all these years they were married. Intervention: Encourage the family members to attend support groups for bereavement. The nurse should facilitate discussions on their favorite memory of their loved one. Outcome: The Gilmores guilt will be diminished. They will be able to openly and freely discuss about Richard without feeling any sense of guilt or regret. They will understand that Richard knew he was loved by his family. Rationale: Sharing grief experiences, such as feelings of guilt and regret, will reduce the sense of isolation and abandonment after the loss of a loved one (Hill, 2015).


American Heart Association (2016). About heart attacks. Retrieved from: Q62ZPv0 Kaakinen, R. J., Coehlo, P. D., Steele, R., Tabacco, A., & Hanson, M. H. S. (2015). Family health care nursing: theory, practice, and research (5th ed.). F.A. Davis: Philadelphia. Dockendorff, C. T. D. (2014). Healthy ways of coping with losses related to the aging process. Educational Gerontology, 40. doi:10.1080/03601277.2013.822203 Hill, K. (2015). Initial analysis of a community-based bereavement programme. Community Practitioner. Retrieved from:

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