Assignment: Benchmark – Human Experience Across the Health-Illness Continuum

Assignment Benchmark – Human Experience Across the Health-Illness Continuum

Assignment: Benchmark – Human Experience Across the Health-Illness Continuum

The World Health Organization describes health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease. Health is determined by factors such as environment, education, genetics, and interpersonal relationships (GCU, 2018). This paper seeks to discuss the health-illness continuum and its relevance to patient care and describe a perspective of my current state of health with respect to the wellness spectrum.

The Health-Illness Continuum, proposed by Ryan and Travis, illustrates health and illness along a continuum. The continuum is a diagrammatic representation with high-level health and wellness at the extreme right and high levels of illness and poor health and premature death at the extreme left (Ali et al., 2018). The middle of the continuum is regarded as the neutral zone since there is neither health nor illness. High levels of wellness are achieved through three steps, which are awareness, education, and growth (Ali et al., 2018). Signs, symptoms, and disability manifest in the left direction that leads to premature death.

Nurses must consider the health-illness continuum when caring for patients to enable them to move along the continuum towards high health levels. For instance, when they understand that health is achieved when a patient is effectively managed, the nurse will strive to provide quality, comprehensive care (GCU, 2018).  Besides, when nurses understand that poor health is caused by trauma and infections, they take interventions to promote patient safety (Svalastog et al., 2017). According to the continuum, persons moving towards high-level wellness are usually optimistic and have a positive view regardless of their existing health condition (Ali et al., 2018). On the other hand, persons in the left direction towards premature death are generally pessimistic and have negative perceptions of their health condition.

Relation of Human-Illness Continuum to Value, Dignity, and Promotion of Human Flourishing

The health-illness continuum enables me as a nurse to promote the value and dignity of people and groups and to serve individuals in a manner that promotes human flourishing. The continuum has made me understand that an individual passes through various states of health and illness. These states range from good health and usually fluctuate to disability and death across the human lifespan (Svalastog et al., 2017). I have learned that health is a recurring change process, and individuals must constantly adapt to these changes to maintain good health and general well-being.

As a health provider, I will apply knowledge from the health-illness continuum to help individuals positively respond and adapt to changes in their health and well-being. For instance, I can help a patient diagnosed with a chronic disease function effectively by training them on the appropriate adaptation strategies and enabling them to flourish (Taylor, Lynn & Bartlett, 2018). High wellness levels can only be achieved when a patient’s mental and emotional aspects are incorporated into the treatment plan. Consequently, all health aspects must be included through holistic care to promote their general well-being (Taylor et al., 2018). I can uphold individuals’ values and dignity by supporting them psychologically, emotionally, and socially. Furthermore, the health education and promotion I provide to individuals, and the community should aim at empowering them to make informed health decisions and support them to flourish.

Reflection on Personal State of Health and the Health Illness Continuum

I would describe my state of health as unremarkable and moving towards the right side of the health-illness continuum. I have no physical or psychological symptoms and no history of a chronic illness. My BMI is currently at 22.8, which is within the normal weight range. There is a family history of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, and colorectal cancer, which puts me at risk of developing similar conditions. Personal behaviors that support good health and well-being include taking three balanced meals a day with a variety of fruits and taking lots of water, more than the recommended eight glasses a day.

I attend annual health checkups and take advantage of free community screenings to have my blood pressure and blood sugar screened. I also ensure I have adequate rest with at least 6 hours of sleep a day and attend Yoga classes for my mental health. These personal behaviors make me move towards a high level of health and wellness on the right side of the continuum. Nevertheless, some behaviors detract me from achieving a high level of health, including lack of adequate physical exercises. My physical exercises entail mostly walking and swimming on weekends. I feel that these are not adequate exercises, and I need to increase the intensity and duration. Besides, I take alcohol about 3-4 beers about four days a week, which could put me at risk of hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Lack of adequate exercise and alcohol consumption detracts me from reaching high levels of health.

Resources Supporting Wellness

Resources that would significantly help me move toward wellness on the health-illness continuum include GCU’s Health and Wellness clinic. The GCU clinic provides top-notch healthcare services to its students and staff, including wellness promotion, TB skin tests, weight management, health education, and smoking cessation. Clients benefit from various wellness clinic services, including physical exams, treatment of illnesses, and holistic and individualized care. Therefore, I can benefit from the GCU wellness clinic services by having routine physical exams and screening services. I can also seek counseling on cessation of alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight, and preventing chronic illnesses. Lastly, I can use the GCU library to access health articles on the prevention of diseases and achieving higher levels of health.


The health-illness continuum is a diagrammatic representation representing a high level of health and wellness on the right and poor health and premature death on the left. The continuum is important in patient care since health providers can understand that people move along the continuum from poor health toward health when they are successfully treated. On the other hand, they move along the continuum from good to poor health due to factors such as infection or trauma. The continuum can be used to promote human value, dignity, and flourishing by promoting the mental and social well-being of individuals and providing health education that empowers them to make informed health decisions.

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Ali, T., Hussain, M., Afzal, M., Khan, W. A., Hur, T., Amin, M. B., Kim, D., Kang, B. H., & Lee, S. (2018). Clinically harmonized wellness concepts model for health and wellness services. IEEE Access6, 26660-26674.

Grand Canyon University (Ed). (2018). Health assessment: Foundations for effective practice. Retrieved from

Svalastog, A. L., Donev, D., Jahren Kristoffersen, N., & Gajović, S. (2017). Concepts and definitions of health and health-related values in the knowledge landscapes of the digital society. Croatian medical journal58(6), 431–435.

Taylor, C., Lynn, P., & Bartlett, J. (2018). Fundamentals of Nursing: The Art and Science of Person-Centered Care. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Describe the effect of extremely low birth weight babies on the family and community. Consider short-term and long-term impacts, socioeconomic implications, the need for ongoing care, and comorbidities associated with prematurity. Explain how disparities relative to ethnic and cultural groups may contribute to low birth weight babies. Identify one support service within your community to assist with preterm infants and their families and explain how the service adequately addresses the needs of the community, or a population in your community. Provide the link to the resource in your post.

Health Assessment


Most extremely low birth weight infants are the youngest of premature newborns. They are usually born at 27 weeks gestational age or younger. Extremely low birth weight infants are born with less than 1,500g (James, Wood, Nair & Williams, 2018).

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Effects of extremely low birth weight babies on family and community

It is estimated that about 40% of babies born with extremely low birth weight end up with different disease conditions. Examples of such disease are blindness in both eyes, hearing loss, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, chronic disease that requires special medications and frequent hospitalization. Birth of low-birth-weight babies has economic and emotional cost to the families. In addition, public sector services such as health insurance services, educational and social support system are strained because of giving birth to low-birth-weight babies.

Short-term and long-term impacts of low birth weight

The short-term impact is that babies of low birth weight require life support in the neonatal care unit due to high readmission risk. This is because the babies usually have immature brains and are in respiratory distress thus, needing ventilators. The long-term impacts of giving birth to low birth babies includes poor health and growth, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, visual and hearing impairment. Premature babies have exhibits learning difficulties, high risk of Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder, socioemotional and behavioral problems.

How disparity in ethnic and cultural groups contribute to low birth weight

At a great risk of premature and extremely low birth weights are infants of minority groups, the marginalized and the poor. Example of disparities among minority populations is native Americans and African Americans to non-Hispanic white births. Infants born of mothers of low socioeconomic rank like African American are more likely to be born prematurely.

Identify one support within your community to support preterm infants and families

Healthcare providers can carry out a developmental screening using evidence-based tools at 9, 18 and 30 months. In addition, a general screening should be done every month. Monitor the milestones closely in preterm babies. Focus should be on hypertonia, reflexes, abnormal movement, and posture.


Healthcare workers and the general public can be educated on the effect of preterm delivery and extremely low birth weight as public health issue.


James, E., Wood, C. L., Nair, H., & Williams, T. C. (2018). Preterm Birth and The Timing of Puberty: A Systematic Review. BMC Pediatrics, 18(1), 1-12.


Replies to Stanley Ogbo

Hello Stanley, thank you for your submission. I agree that extremely low birth weight babies have developmental retardation in the short term, which causes learning disabilities in the long term. The child may need more time and attention, affecting the family function and even leading to financial constraints. People’s socioeconomic background, environment, and ethnicity affect their pregnancy because people from ethnic minorities may not have access to good health care and nutrition. Good nutrition during the early years helps the baby grow and develop well (Green, 2018). It is also essential to assist families with premature babies as nurses to locate resources and support groups to help them take care of low birth weight babies after discharge. what do you think about this?


Green, S. Z. (2018). Health assessment of the infant. In Grand Canyon University (Eds.), Dynamics in nursing: Art and science of professional practice.

The health-illness continuum is a diagrammatic illustration of a well-being concept that was proposed by John Travis in 1972. It explains the process of change whereby an individual undergoes different states of health and illness, which range from good health and fluctuate across the lifespan to death (Stará, 2017). Health is a process of recurrent change, and individuals must continuously adapt to the changes in their lives to uphold good health and well-being. It is the response and adaptation to health changes and not the change itself that affects one’s health (Dahlberg, 2019). A state of wellness can exist in the presence of chronic diseases when there is an adaptation and effective functioning. This essay will examine the health-illness continuum and discuss why it is essential to consider the continuum’s perspective when caring for patients. I will also reflect on my overall state of health and explore the resources available that can help me move towards wellness on the health-illness spectrum.

Importance of the Health-Illness Continuum When Caring For Patients

The health-illness continuum explains how well-being is more than just the absence of illness as it incorporates a person’s emotional and mental health (Hastings, 2019). The continuum consists of two directions, one that leads to a high level of wellness and another that leads to premature death (Stará, 2017). A high-level of wellness is attained in three steps, namely, awareness, education, and growth, while premature death occurs when there are signs, symptoms, and disability (Khorashadizadeh, 2016). The continuum also has a neutral point that is characterized by a state of no discernable wellness or illness. The continuum further explains that individuals in the direction of high-level wellness are genuinely optimistic and often have a positive outlook regardless of their health status (Khorashadizadeh, 2016). On the other hand, individuals heading towards premature death are genuinely pessimistic and have a negative outlook on their health status.

It is essential to consider the health-illness continuum perspective when caring for patients to help them move past the neutral point to the direction of high-level wellness. Health providers must understand that health is not merely the absence of disease; hence they should assess the state of psychological and mental well-being of patients (Hastings, 2019). Patients may be in the direction of premature death as a result of having psychological distress, which makes them have a negative perception of their health (Dahlberg, 2019). Consequently, health providers should promote the emotional and mental well-being of patients to improve the physical health and overall well-being.

Reflection on My Overall State of Health

I am 25-years old with a good general condition. My BMI is 23.5, and I have no history of chronic illnesses. Nonetheless, there is a positive family history of diabetes and hypertension in my close family members, which keeps me at risk of developing the same conditions if I do not practice a healthy lifestyle. I have an ineffective exercise program that involves walking for about 20 minutes a day, but I hardly engage in moderate-intensity exercises or attend gym sessions. I have a mobile application that counts my daily steps, but I have not been keen on achieving my daily steps target of 10000 steps. I try to take a balanced diet and take about six glasses of water daily, but I hardly eat fruits. Besides, I frequently take junk foods in the form of snacks, which may have contributed to the recent weight gain. Since I joined nursing school, I rarely seek consultation form healthcare providers, but I tend to diagnose and treat myself based on my symptoms. Poor lifestyle choices and self-prescription detract me from good health and well-being.

After learning the effects of diabetes and hypertension on morbidity and quality of life, I have resulted in taking a balanced diet, increasing the intensity of physical activities, and having regular blood pressure and blood glucose monitoring. I have information on what I should do to prevent chronic diseases, and I have taken responsibility for my health to avoid premature death. On the health-illness continuum, I fall under the direction toward greater health and well-being on the step of education. I am aware of the health conditions that I am at risk of, and I am learning on how to prevent the diseases through modification of lifestyle. Besides, I am optimistic about my health status and have a positive perception of my health and overall well-being.

Options and Resources Available To Help Move toward Wellness

Resources that are available include a nutrition clinic in the University’s hospital where I can be counseled and guided on the appropriate diet to prevent lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and cardiac diseases. There is also a Diabetic clinic where I can get regular blood glucose monitoring and health education on the prevention of diabetes. Besides, the University has a gymnasium with professional trainers who can help me in developing an exercise routine and help me in keeping fit to avoid being overweight, which increases the risk of chronic diseases. Other resources include books and online information on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent common chronic conditions.



In conclusion, a person’s state of health undergoes repeated change as one moves from good health to illness and back to health, and the condition is hardly constant. The illness-wellness continuum is a graphic illustration with two directions, one that directs to a high-level of wellness and another that leads to premature death. The continuum proposes that an individual’s well-being also entails emotional and mental health, and it is not just the absence of disease. The steps to achieving wellness include awareness, education, and growth, while the steps to premature death include signs, symptoms, and disability.


Dahlberg, H. (2019). Beyond the absent body—A phenomenological contribution to the understanding of body awareness in health and illness. Nursing Philosophy20(2), e12235.

Hastings, A. C. (2019). Health for the whole person: The complete guide to holistic medicine. Routledge.

Khorashadizadeh, F. (2016). Creation of illness meaning: A central concept of spiritual health. Evidence Based Care6(2), 75-76.

Stará, J. (2017). Health and wellness–conceptual grounding. Acta Salus Vitae5(2), 4-25.

Doctors say terminally ill patients express three broad reasons for wishing to die at home: being in a familiar environment with loved ones; being in a place less medicinal than a health care facility; and having autonomy over such choices as what to eat and when to sleep. Although patients request to die in their own home most family caregivers are unprepared and are routinely tasked with managing distressing symptoms, administering medications, and providing intimate personal care to bedbound patients. A common reason patients change from in-home care to hospital care is in part due to the patient’s medical safety needs exceeding the capacity of at-home caregivers. Challenges then increase as the patient’s condition deteriorates. Finances are another stressor for families of palliative care patients. Payments from private insurance, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, are quickly exhausted as families pay for medicines, equipment, and occasional in-home assistance from professionals. Caregivers also face caregiver fatigue (AAMC). Patients and families may lack clear understanding of hospice which can then lead to hospitalization. Not fully understanding the philosophy of hospice and what is provided can result in a mismatch of care needs. When patients’ and families’ expectations and understanding of hospice differ from the philosophy and services that home hospice care provides, hospitalization is an option that patients and families may seek (Phongtankuel et al., 2016).

As a nurse working in palliative care, it is imperative to elicit the patient’s goals for care, listen to the patient and their family members, communicate with members of the interdisciplinary team and advocate for the patient’s wishes, manage the end of life symptoms, encourage reminiscing, facilitate participating in religious rituals and spiritual practice, and making referrals to chaplains, clergy and other spiritual support (WTCS). Palliative care nurses also provide an integrative and multidisciplinary treatment approach that helps patients maintain physical, mental, and emotional health. They take time to understand the needs of each patient in order to provide a customized treatment plan that provides lasting relief (CHS, 2017).

Course Code Class Code Assignment Title Total Points
NRS-434VN NRS-434VN-O504 Benchmark – Human Experience Across the Health-Illness Continuum 130.0
Criteria Percentage Unsatisfactory (0.00%) Less than Satisfactory (75.00%) Satisfactory (79.00%)
Content 80.0%
Health-Illness Importance to Health and Patient Care (C5.1) 20.0% A discussion on the importance of the health-illness continuum is not presented. A partial summary on the importance of the health-illness continuum is presented. The summary does not fully include the relation of the continuum to health and the human experience in patient care. There are significant inaccuracies. More evidence or information is needed. A general discussion on the importance of the health-illness in relation to health and the human experience in patient care is presented. The discussion generally establishes that the health-illness continuum is important to patient care. There are some inaccuracies. More information or rationale is needed.
Relation of Human-Illness Continuum to Value, Dignity, and Promotion of Human Flourishing 20.0% An explanation of the relationship between the health-illness continuum and the ability of a health care provider to promote the value, dignity, and flourishing of patients is not presented. A partial explanation of the relationship between the health-illness continuum and the ability of a health care provider to promote the value, dignity, and flourishing of patients is presented, but the connection is tenuous and key elements are omitted, incomplete, or left unexplained. A general explanation of the relationship between the health-illness continuum and the ability of a health care provider to promote the value, dignity, and flourishing of patients is presented. There are some inaccuracies, and more information or rationale is needed to support the response.
Refection on Personal State of Health and the Health Illness Continuum 20.0% Reflection on personal overall state of health is omitted. A partial summary of personal overall state of health is included. The summary is not informative. Behaviors supporting or detracting from health and well-being are omitted or incomplete. A general discussion of personal overall state of health is included. Overall the discussion demonstrates some insight into some behaviors supporting or detracting from health and well-being. The author does not clearly establish where personal health falls on the health-illness continuum.
Resources Supporting Wellness 20.0% Options and resources available to help the author move toward wellness on the health-illness continuum are omitted. Partial options and resources available that would help the author move toward wellness on the health-illness continuum are presented. It is unclear how this will assist in moving the author toward wellness. General options and resources available that would help the author move toward wellness on the health-illness continuum are presented. More information is needed to establish how this will assist in moving the author toward wellness.
Organization and Effectiveness 15.0%
Thesis Development and Purpose 5.0% Paper lacks any discernible overall purpose or organizing claim. Thesis is insufficiently developed or vague. Purpose is not clear. Thesis is apparent and appropriate to purpose.
Argument Logic and Construction 5.0% Statement of purpose is not justified by the conclusion. The conclusion does not support the claim made. Argument is incoherent and uses noncredible sources. Sufficient justification of claims is lacking. Argument lacks consistent unity. There are obvious flaws in the logic. Some sources have questionable credibility. Argument is orderly but may have a few inconsistencies. The argument presents minimal justification of claims. Argument logically, but not thoroughly, supports the purpose. Sources used are credible. Introduction and conclusion bracket the thesis.
Mechanics of Writing (includes spelling, punctuation, grammar, language use) 5.0% Surface errors are pervasive enough that they impede communication of meaning. Inappropriate word choice or sentence construction is used. Frequent and repetitive mechanical errors distract the reader. Inconsistencies in language choice (register), sentence structure, or word choice are present. Some mechanical errors or typos are present, but they are not overly distracting to the reader. Correct sentence structure and audience-appropriate language are used.
Format 5.0%
Paper Format (use of appropriate style for the major and assignment) 2.0% Template is not used appropriately, or documentation format is rarely followed correctly. Template is used, but some elements are missing or mistaken; lack of control with formatting is apparent. Template is used, and formatting is correct, although some minor errors may be present.
Documentation of Sources (citations, footnotes, references, bibliography, etc., as appropriate to assignment and style) 3.0% Sources are not documented. Documentation of sources is inconsistent or incorrect, as appropriate to assignment and style, with numerous formatting errors. Sources are documented, as appropriate to assignment and style, although some formatting errors may be present.

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