Taking and recording a family history
You may need to take a family history to help answer a specific clinical question or as recommended in a national clinical guideline.
In the video below, renal genetic nurse specialist Kathryn Bishop discusses the importance of taking a patient family history, when patients are referred to the renal genetics centre.
What is a genetic family history?
Taking a family history involves asking questions about each member of the family to determine
- how family members are related to each other (their biological relationships) and
- any medical conditions they may have.
This information is usually gathered by asking a series of questions about each person in a family – moving from person to person in each generation in a systematic way.
The information collected is usually recorded pictorially as a pedigree drawing.
There are other ways of collecting family history information: for instance, the patient or family may agree to complete a family history form.