Benchmark – Human Experience Across the Health-Illness Continuum

Benchmark – Human Experience Across the Health-Illness Continuum

Research the health-illness continuum and its relevance to patient care. In a 750-1,000 word paper, discuss the relevance of the continuum to patient care and present a perspective of your current state of health in relation to the wellness spectrum. Include the following:


Examine the health-illness continuum and discuss why this perspective is important to consider in relation to health and the human experience when caring for patients.

Explain how understanding the health-illness continuum enables you, as a health care provider, to better promote the value and dignity of individuals or groups and to serve others in ways that promote human flourishing. Benchmark – Human Experience Across the Health-Illness Continuum

Reflect on your overall state of health. Discuss what behaviors support or detract from your health and well-being. Explain where you currently fall on the health-illness continuum.

Discuss the options and resources available to you to help you move toward wellness on the health-illness spectrum. Describe how these would assist in moving you toward wellness (managing a chronic disease, recovering from an illness, self-actualization, etc.).


Different models of health and illness have been developed over the years through continuous assessments and changes in health and disease. John W. Travis developed the health-illness continuum model the year 1972. This model describes an individual’s mental and emotional health and highlights that lack of illness is not a measure of a person’s overall well-being and the absence of signs and symptoms of infection does not suggest health and wellbeing (Wickramarathne, Phuoc & Albattat, 2020). The purpose of the health-illness continuum is to help healthcare providers promote health and wellness practices and improve patients’ quality of life (QoL) across the continuum of care.

Why Is It Important to Consider the Health-Illness Continuum?

The health-illness continuum is integral in recognizing and adapting the human experience to maintain health and well-being. In the context of this health model, health and wellbeing also incorporate an individual’s experiences, perceptions, beliefs, wellness, response to health, and disease. World Health Organization (2018) emphasizes that an individual’s state of well-being is not defined by the absence of an illness or disease but an individual’s physical functioning to perform Activities of Daily Life (ADLs), symptoms, and vitality. Benchmark – Human Experience Across the Health-Illness Continuum

A person’s health status is also determined by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The former include intellect, lifestyle choices, and genetic makeup. The latter include cultural beliefs, environment, living standards, and social support systems. On the other hand, an individual’s social, physical, spiritual, intellectual, and occupational dimensions play an integral role in promoting health and well-being across the health-illness continuum. According to Schlinkert & Koole (2017), these dimensions illustrate that, if a person can keep fit, maintain nutrition, develop and maintain relations, manage stress, use information and maintain a   balance between work-home life, he/she can maintain a healthy status.

Promoting the Value and Dignity of Individuals or Groups

The health-illness continuum helps healthcare providers to guide patients appropriately by linking standards of wellness and treatment. For optimal health, the continuum has six elements of personal health that must be balanced in the everyday life of an individual. The health-illness continuum has a high degree of wellness (found on the right of the continuum), neutral (found at the center and has no distinct wellness or illness). There is also a treatment model that describes traditional care models, treatment processes, disease, and illness states. The left of the continuum describes individuals with the bare minimum to attaining optimal health. However, most individuals with poor health fall in the neutral category. Benchmark – Human Experience Across the Health-Illness Continuum


In clinical practice, nurses can apply the health-illness continuum model by guiding patients to achieve optimal health by linking the wellness and illness paradigms of the continuum. According to Koerner & Douglas (2017), this can be actualized by implementing tools such as rest, reducing stress, promoting healthy dietary habits, and routine physical activity to attain, maintain and improve health. Bensson (2019) emphasizes that it is also important to relate health with the human experience in routine clinical care by integrating the human experience with the health-illness continuum model through interventions such as identifying a patient’s preferences and learning abilities, building a rapport, understanding a patient’s values, belief systems and respecting a patient’s choices.


I am 35 years old and gradually evolving in my overall health and wellness. The primary extrinsic and intrinsic factors that contribute to my overall health and wellbeing are moderate routine physical exercises such as walking, cycling, and yoga, and maintaining a positive mindset. Maintaining a healthy journey has not been an easy task but the inspiration comes from within since I have goals to achieve in life that require my maximum input and healthy status.  I believe that the human experience involves a willingness to move forward, flexibility, and a positive mindset. Benchmark – Human Experience Across the Health-Illness Continuum

The main distractions that affect my overall well-being include long working hours, work-related stress, and consuming moderately-mild intake of caffeine, fast foods, and occasionally alcohol. In the health-illness spectrum, I strongly believe that I am in the moderate-wellness category and remain optimistic to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Options and Resources

To maintain health and wellness, an individual must observe several aspects of the health-illness continuum model. However, the most important aspect is knowing and being aware of the factors that limit/hinder the attainment of optimal health and well-being. For instance, to address nutrition, an individual must be aware of individual bad dietary choices as well the appropriate food options based on the paradigm. Therefore, for high-level wellness, I must consider making and strictly maintaining healthy dietary choices by excluding the occasional fast foods, caffeine, and alcohol intake from my diet and increase the intake of vegetables, proteins, and water.Benchmark – Human Experience Across the Health-Illness Continuum

Another strategy to reach high wellness is by understanding how social, emotional, and physical work environments impact an individual.  Nursing is generally a career that is associated with high-level emotional stress and burnout. Apart from negatively impacting the physical social, emotional, and mental health status of an individual, nursing-related emotional stress and burnout negatively impact patient health outcomes and satisfaction (Penwell-Waines, Greenawald & Musick, 2018). A perfect paradigm-based option to address this distraction is practicing stress management exercises to address work-related stress.  This includes taking scheduled breaks in between work, asking for assistance, support, and motivation from colleague staff, and being part of a peer work-related support group. Education also plays a significant role in addressing work-related stress. Therefore, actively participating in programs and seminars that discuss about maintain the overall well-being of nurses is another option.              


Over the years, there has been a continuous development of different models of health that try to explain the concepts of illness and health. The primary focus of healthcare has been disease management rather than an individual’s overall well-being including mental, emotional, social, and physical health. The health-illness continuum is a   model that seeks to promote an individual’s optimal health from social, mental, physical, and emotional perspectives. Nurses can apply the health-illness continuum model by guiding patients to achieve optimal health by linking the wellness and illness paradigms of the continuum. To promote patient health across the care continuum, nurses should continuously educate, inspire and influence patients and provide a positive human experience.Benchmark – Human Experience Across the Health-Illness Continuum



Bensson, G. (2019). Defining Health and Illness. Health and Illness in Close Relationships, 19

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Koerner, K., & Douglas, B. (2017). Leading Change throughout the Continuum of Care. Journal

of Community & Public Health Nursing, 03(04). Retrieved from

Penwell-Waines, L., Greenawald, M., & Musick, D. (2018). A Professional Well-Being Continuum: Broadening the Burnout Conversation. The southern medical journal111(10), 634-635.

Schlinkert, C., & Koole, S. L. (2017). Dealing with life demands: Action-state orientation moderates the relation between demanding conditions and drops in body vitality.  Modern Science. Vol. 4. No. 2. American Psychological Association. DOI: Retrieved

Wickramarathne, P. C., Phuoc, J. C., & Albattat, A. R. S. (2020). A Review Of Wellness Dimension Models: For The Advancement Of The Society. European Journal of Social Sciences Studies.

WHO. (2018). Constitution of WHO: Principles. World Health Organization. Retrieved from:  

Benchmark – Human Experience Across the Health-Illness Continuum