The health-illness continuum
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.
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.).
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There are different contexts about health and illness. Health and illness are concepts that are subject to continuous transformations and assessments. Health care is a human experience where opinions and views define in part a reaction to health and disease. Health-illness continuum analysis with respect to the human knowledge, therefore, assists in recognizing the significance of adjustments to sustain healthcare.
Healthcare mostly focuses more on illness and less on individual well-being. World Health Organization (WHO) (2018) explains health as the condition of total physical, psychological, and societal health, and not simply the lack of illness. People define their health with regard to the manner in which they feel about certain symptoms of illness as well as how they work and accomplish their daily activities. Illness is also highly personal in that only the person affected can realize if he or she is not feeling well physically, psychologically, or morally. Illness be either associated to the state of disease or not.
According to WHO (2018), one should not relate technical diagnosis to health because it is a human experience, which is the ultimate life experience of vitality. Vitality implies experiencing life with enthusiasm and liveliness; not halfheartedly; being lively and activated. Liveliness is essential and one of the significant five forces, which are often highly associated with contentment and health (the other four forces are interest in the world, faith and confidence, appreciation, and the ability to love). Vitality means being lively in both the physical and psychological sense. Physically, it means one is feeling healthy, proficient, and active. In psychological sense, this condition of liveliness creates a feeling that a person’s activities have a sense and purpose. Thus, liveliness is more than being excited. Vitality indicates an infusion with confident drive (unlike being nervous or annoyed). Without vitality, one may remain empty, unmotivated; hence, the psychological and physical well-being will be affected (Medicine, & Bushman, 2017).
Wellbeing is a self-motivated objective and an increasing course of action. Crucial decision-making is needed every day in matters regarding health and the life of an individual. Wellness is an insight of a person’s vitality and happiness but is also defined impartially, experienced and evaluated to be planned on a continuum (Rogers-Clark, Martin-McDonald, & McCarthy, 2011).
The Illness-Wellness Continuum established by Dr. John Travis evaluates one’s supposed extent of wellness. High-level of good health is on the exact end of the continuum even though sickness or sudden death is to the other side. The central point is neutral with no noticeable sickness. The theory posits that individuals move on the continuum every day. The treatment pattern is on the left of the central point along the continuum. This is where outdated healthcare is classified, in treatment of infection and sicknesses. When one moves further to the left of the continuum it implies that he or she is not doing much to become healthy. Traditional medicines may heal a patient up to the neutral point on the wellness continuum. At the center, it is upon the person to take the responsibility and assume the active part in attaining a higher level of health.
Attaining a higher level of health creates seven dimensions. One is the physical dimension, which includes the capability to accomplish activities, maintain fitness, and avoid exploitations. Next are social dimensions, which are how a person interrelates and how they can improve and keep a close connection while conveying emotions. The capacity to deal with stress involves the emotional dimension. Another dimension is the spiritual dimension that implies a belief system or an existing power that assists to unite. Intellectual dimension relates to the ability to study and utilize information. A balanced work-life is attained through the occupational dimension. Lastly, the environmental dimension conveys the capacity to offer health procedures that lead to life quality and the living standard (Rogers-Clark, Martin-McDonald, & McCarthy, 2011).
Biological internal factors (growth, genetics, age, and sex), emotional factors (mind-body relations), and cognitive elements (faith and lifestyle choices) affect practices, health status and faith. The external elements also have an impact on health condition, values and practices. The external factors pertain to the physical setting, living standards, family and ethnic beliefs, and societal help (Rogers-Clark, Martin-McDonald, & McCarthy, 2011).
A conducive atmosphere of inpatient care engages the human understanding with the health-sickness continuum. Medical practitioners are normally trained to care for patients. A determining factor of the human understanding is feeling appreciated, secure and connected. As medical practitioners discuss personalized care, are they usually sensitive to incorporate what patient understands or are they only admitting them in technical learning and with a feeling of control? These are some of the questions that need to be considered when taking care of patients. Building relationships with patients is the essence to health support (Medicine & Bushman, 2017). Considering the extent of wellness, the significance of health-illness continuum can be visualized easily to building the association between individuals and the healthcare practitioners. As the healthcare team helps people in discussing about the patient’s opinions of health, it builds a relationship that focuses on the individual’s choices, the capacity to learning and predilections, and belief structure.
In reflecting on wellness and sickness concerning my health, I am aware, knowledgeable and constantly improving in spite of a fifteen-year account of a neurologic condition. Elements that contribute to my health comprise of a constructive forward mind-set, good eating behavior, eating food with low calories and sugar because of history of diabetes and heart disease in the family, and daily exercise. Alternatives and resources accessible to help with my journey of constant health come from within. The individual human understanding requires obedience to grow with a positive mind-set (Slusser, Garcia, & McGinnis, 2018). With a regular understanding of the illness-wellness continuum, there are times that I could do better, particularly with physical work out.
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Medicine, A. C. S., & Bushman, B. (2017). ACSM’s Complete Guide to Fitness & Health, 2E. Champaign, IL Human Kinetics
Rogers-Clark, C., Martin-McDonald, K., & McCarthy, A. (2011). Living with Illness: Psychosocial Challenges. Churchill Livingstone Australia.
Slusser, M. M., Garcia, L. I., Re, C.-R., & McGinnis, P. Q. (2018). Foundations of Interprofessional Collaborative Practice in Health Care. St. Louis, Missouri : Elsevier Inc. : Mosby
World Health Organization (WHO). (2018). Constitution of WHO: Principles. World Health Organization. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/about/who-we-are/constitution