Benchmark – Human Experience across the Health-Illness Continuum Essay

Benchmark – Human Experience across the Health-Illness Continuum Essay

Benchmark – Human Experience across the Health-Illness Continuum

A continuum refers to something that gradually changes, devoid of any clear points. Health is a variable factor that changes from time to time to adjust with the internal and external variables in an individual’s life (Meyer, 2019). Illness is an emotional state associated with the loss of health. The World Health Organization defined health as a state of complete wellbeing physically, mentally, and socially and not just the absence of disease or illness. The purpose of this paper is to describe the health-illness continuum and its relevance to patient care as well as explain my current state of health with regard to the wellness spectrum.


The Health-Illness Continuum

The health-illness continuum is a diagrammatic model of the wellness of an individual. John W. Travis proposed the health-illness continuum based on the assumption that an individual is not only regarded as healthy based on the lack of disease but also based on their mental wellness and emotional health (Rovesti et al., 2018). The continuum demonstrates the change in health whereby a person undergoes a range of health and illness states ranging from optimum health to death. Good health fluctuates throughout a person’s life. The model has two arrows facing different directions. The right arrow heads to a high level of wellness, indicating attainment of optimum health, while the left arrow heads to illness, disability, and premature death (Rovesti et al., 2018). At the center of the continuum is the neutral point with good health and no signs of disease or illness.

Nurses should take into account the health-illness continuum when providing patient care to establish which direction along the continuum the patient is currently. After identifying the patient’s position in the continuum, the nurse can help them go towards optimal health if they are in the direction towards premature death. If a patient is in the right direction along the continuum, the nurse can help the patient get to higher levels of wellness and to attain the desired optimal health (Dineen-Griffin et al., 2019). Furthermore, understanding the health-illness continuum helps the nurse determine the healthcare interventions to apply for a patient, including the health education to help them move towards optimal health.

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How Understanding the Health-Illness Continuum Enables Me, To Better Promote the Value and Dignity of Individuals

The health-illness continuum has made me understand that for individuals to attain a high level of wellness; they need to go through three key stages: awareness, education, and growth. I have also learned that people’s attitude towards their health affects their health outcomes. For instance, if a person has a positive attitude, they progress towards the right side of the continuum, thus achieving good health. However, if a person has a negative attitude, they move to the left side towards premature death (Swan et al., 2019). Understanding the continuum enables me to determine a patient’s state of health and position on the continuum and thus take the necessary interventions to help them attain better health. Besides, it enables me to identify the risk factors that worsen a patient’s health, whether environmental or physiological (Meyer, 2019). As a result, I take appropriate interventions to improve the patient’s health and dignity. Furthermore, I also help patients prevent illness by providing awareness about diseases and risk factors and educating them on disease prevention and health promotion, thus promoting their value and dignity.

The overall State of Health

I have a good overall state of health as evidenced by lack of disease, infirmity, or disability. Besides, I have no history of chronic illnesses or frequent infections and no history of hospitalization. My hospital visits are primarily due to minor ailments and injuries such as flu, headaches, and minor cuts. A reflection on my general health and wellbeing revealed that I have lifestyle behaviors that support good health and wellbeing. Healthy behaviors include taking daily servings of fruits and vegetables and engaging in physical exercises about one and a half hours per day, at least five days a week. In addition, I attend annual check-ups to monitor my health and help identify early signs of disease and thus begin early treatment.

Unhealthy lifestyle practices detract from optimal health, including tobacco smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and risky sexual behavior. Tobacco and alcohol consumption puts me at risk of chronic illnesses such as COPD, hypertension, diabetes, and fatty liver disease (Dineen-Griffin et al., 2019). Risky sexual behaviors put me at risk of STDs. I currently fall in the right direction of the health-illness continuum since I am aware of risk factors for diseases. Besides, I have taken measures to educate myself on lifestyle modifications to better my health and reduce the risk of diseases and disabilities.

Available Options and Resources to Help Move toward Wellness on the Health-Illness Spectrum

Available options and resources that can help me move towards higher levels of wellness include community wellness centers, sports facilities, Yoga classes, and nicotine anonymous groups. In the community wellness centers, I can access health professionals to guide me in adopting healthier lifestyle interventions. In addition, I can access preventative services to help in disease prevention and promote health and wellbeing. Sports facilities include gyms, swimming pools, and sports fields, where I can engage in various physical exercises to promote physical fitness and prevent diseases associated with sedentary lifestyles (Dineen-Griffin et al., 2019). Yoga classes will be essential to promote higher levels of mental wellness. Lastly, I can join nicotine anonymous groups in our community, which will support me in the journey towards smoking cessation.


The health-illness continuum demonstrates the process of change in health whereby a person undergoes a range of health and illness states ranging from optimum health to death. The continuum diagram illustrates that an individual either moves towards optimal health or premature death. It can guide nurses in identifying the position where a patient lies in the continuum and the interventions needed to promote optimal health.


Dineen-Griffin, S., Garcia-Cardenas, V., Williams, K., & Benrimoj, S. I. (2019). Helping patients help themselves: A systematic review of self-management support strategies in primary health care practice. PloS one14(8), e0220116.

Meyer, M. A. (2019). Mapping the patient journey across the continuum: lessons learned from one patient’s experience. Journal of Patient Experience6(2), 103-107.

Rovesti, M., Fioranelli, M., Petrelli, P., Satolli, F., Roccia, M. G., Gianfaldoni, S., Tchernev, G., Wollina, U., Lotti, J., Feliciani, C., & Lotti, T. (2018). Health and Illness in History, Science and Society. Open access Macedonian journal of medical sciences6(1), 163–165.

Swan, B. A., Haas, S., & Jessie, A. T. (2019). Care coordination: roles of registered nurses across the care continuum. Nursing Economics37(6), 317-323.

ALL THE DQS to be ready by Monday of each week (the topic 1 DQs to be ready by today 4 pm) whilst all the Assignments to be ready by Thursday of each week bar the Shadow Health Assessments. The number of references is 4 for the DQs and 8 for the assignments starting from sources that were published in 2018. Ensure that each assignment has an Introduction with a clear purpose statement i.e “The purpose of this paper is to… ” and a conclusion summarizing the body of the paper. All the journal sources must be peer reviewed i.e with a doi at the end.

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