Human experience across the health-illness continuum and its perspective

Human experience across the health-illness continuum and its perspective

The health-illness continuum is a graphic presentation of the wellbeing concept that was first explained by John .W. Travis in the year 1972. According to John, the currency of determining health is connection. The health-illness continuum explains that health is not only the absence of disease but it is the state of wellbeing that is defined by physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing (van Erp 2018).

The traditional mode of medicine and healthcare has always considered a person to be healthy when there are no clinical manifestations or signs that demonstrate illness. However, John explains that medicine should consider other perspectives of the patient and not only the signs as they may have other shortcomings.

From the name continuum, the model explains health as a continuous process and dynamic that is always changing and hence need for the patient to be prepared as well for the change. Always people move from health to illness back and forth and thus John illustrates the most appropriate mode of managing them. The model explains that the health of any individual is never constant and they may wake up feeling well or sick but later on with the progress of the day they end up also changing in state. The health illness continuum explains the continuous process of change in relation to health (Petrillo et al.,2015). All individuals experience various states of illness and health as well. Hence, the illness continuum helps patients adapt to various states as far as the health is concerned.

The continuum covers the perspectives of extremely good health up to the extent of bad health that may lead to fatality. The perspective of the model is applicable to the management of the ill as well as the healthy in the nursing profession. The state of health has been defined as a process of continual change according to John. He further explains that the role of human in maintaining the health is to try and adapt to the changes. It is not easy for us to maintain good health and thus changes must always be made so that we can sustain quality lifestyle. Unlike the action of the change, what determines health is the reaction to the change itself. Considering a situation that affects one’s health, everyone responds in their own particular way. Some prefer managing the new changes and acting appropriately. However, some remain the same and do not respond to the change. That leads to more severe outcomes affecting health repeatedly.

The role of the health-illness continuum is to educate the patients on the importance of positive adaptation. Proper adaptation and effective functioning even when a patient suffers from a chronic condition is considered to be a state of wellness (Kennedy-Malone et al.,2018). An example is when patients suffer the same chronic condition such as diabetes but one chooses to go on with self-care and perform basic functions in the ward or at home while the later remains bedridden. According to the case scenario, the second patient is a better position as he chooses to adapt positively and hence has a better health-illness continuum. Death is a state when adaptation fails and there is no positive arrow of movement towards recovery.

Overall state of health and behaviours contributing

            Health is not only the absence of disease but the overall state of wellbeing. According to the World Health Organization, health is a state of physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. Good health explicit optimum functional and effective structural integrity (WHO 2015). When feeling healthy, one is able to function effectively within the environment. Just like money, health is a resource for enabling good adaptation in the ecosystem. Further studies have been conducted on the issue of health to try and clarify it better. Hence, health has been defined as the ability of an individual to adapt to infirmities and new threats. The new concept is based on the fact that there have been changes in the field of health and medicine that have led to increased awareness of individuals to disease and unhygienic practices that cause illness.

Exercise and physical activity is one of the behaviours that positively influence the health of the people. With good physical activity, the body’s physiological functioning is facilitated and cardiac activity enhanced hence leading to good health (Murdaugh et al.,2018). Physical activity enhances physical fitness and mental wellbeing. Benefits of physical activity include; injury and disease prevention, improved body functioning, and weight maintenance.

According to the health-illness continuum, the state of my health is at good health. It is not excellent due to occasional smoking and drinking.

Options and resources available for health-illness improvement

            Maintenance of good health requires adequate resources that promote effective management. To manage a chronic illness is not an easy task and thus, without the necessary materials and access, the patient is likely expected to deteriorate. The timing, the cost, and frequency of medical treatment are factors to be considered in managing chronic conditions. Financial resources are mandatory in ensuring that the patient can afford the appropriate medication and access to a good diet to maintain a healthy lifestyle (Roux 2018). Involvement in healthcare helps individuals understand their medical condition and the appropriate treatment that is required. Hence, all patients should attend conferences on health and do further research and studies to become well knowledgeable on their condition.

Another aspect of health improvement is proper nutrition and dietetics. To be able to afford a good diet daily requires enough money. A good diet is related to good health and wellbeing. Even for the patients that have terminal illnesses and chronic conditions, a balanced diet definitely creates a positive adaptation which is likely to be reflected to the patient’s health and quality of life.


Kennedy-Malone, L., Martin-Plank, L., & Duffy, E. (2018). Advanced practice nursing in the      care of older adults. FA Davis.

Murdaugh, C. L., Parsons, M. A., & Pender, N. J. (2018). Health promotion in nursing practice.   Pearson Education Canada.

Petrillo, G., Capone, V., Caso, D., & Keyes, C. L. (2015). The Mental Health Continuum–Short Form (MHC–SF) as a measure of well-being in the Italian context. Social Indicators Research, 121(1), 291-312.

Roux, A. V. D. (2018). Neighborhoods and health. Oxford University Press.

van Erp Taalman Kip, R. M., & Hutschemaekers, G. J. (2018). Health, well‐being, and     psychopathology in a clinical population: Structure and discriminant validity of Mental          Health Continuum Short Form (MHC‐SF). Journal of clinical psychology, 74(10), 1719-  1729.

World Health Organization. (2015). World report on ageing and health. World Health       Organization.