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(Voki script:  Your Quest is to explore what chronic ill ness means, the attributes, and trajectory.  Follow along below on your Quest.  Remember to use the right click and open in new tab feature when you click on web resources.)

1.  Define chronic illness.

 Explore the following websites to read definitions of chronic illness.  Think about what chronic illness means.  Write your own definition of chronic illness in 1 to 3 sentences.  Be ready to share your definition with your classmates and instructor.

Definition of Chronic Illness from Wellsphere

45% of Americans have a chronic illness

Chronic Illness Key Terms 

woman image from with permission


2.  Describe the attributes of chronic illness.

Attributes of a chronic illness include (Lewis et al, 2011, p. 63):

Long-term/permanent impairments and deviations from normal.

Pathological changes that are long-term/permanent.

Long-term disability.

Specialized rehabilitation.

Long-term medical management required.

Long-term nursing management required.

Visit the following websites.  While you are reading about the concept of chronic illness, make a list of attributes that must be present whenever a person has a chronic illness.  Be ready to share the list with your classmates and instructor.


Self organization in chronic pain 

Concept analysis of chronic health conditions

path in nature photo from with permission

3.  Describe the trajectory of chronic illness.

Understanding the trajectory of chronic illness is important for the nurse who cares for patients and families with chronic illness.  Visit the following websites and read about the trajectory of chronic illness.  Describe the eight phases of the chronic illness trajectory in a writing.  Be prepared to share your review of the eight phases with your classmates and instructor.

You should also read about the trajectory of chronic illness in your textbook.


Trajectory Model

The Trajectory Model

Trajectories of Illness Across Time



Lewis, S. M., Dirksen, S., Heitkemper, M. M.,  Bucher, L., & Camera, I. M. (2011).  Medical-surgical nursing:  Assessment, management of clinical problems.  (8th ed.). St. Louis:  Mosby.

roses from with permission


four seasons tree from with permission


4.  Explore the impact of chronic illness on patients and families.

(Voki script:  When a patient has a chronic illness, the entire family is included.  There are many adjustments for the entire family, such as role changes, financial, activities, and more.  Next, you will explore the impact of chronic illness for the family.)

Impact of chronic illness on patients and families video

Impact of chronic illness on the patient

Impact of Chronic illness on families 


family jumping from with permission




beach boardwalk from with permission


5.  Examine the coping styles that families use to deal with chronic illness.


Coping with chronic illness

The role of family caregivers when caring for people with chronic illness

Assessments of Families with Chronically Ill Patients

Caring for family members with chronic physical illness

winding path from with permission



6.  Create interview questions to ask a patient/family affected by chronic illness to explore their meaning/experience of chronic illness.

family strolling from with permission


By now you have explored the concept of chronic illness.  Not only did you examine the definition of chronic illness, but you took a deeper look at the defining attributes of chronic illness.   You also read about the trajectory of chronic illness, including the eight stages and how chronic illness impacts patients and families.  

Put yourself in the shoes of the person with a chronic illness.  How has the chronic illness impacted their life?  How has it impacted their school or career?  How have roles in the family changed?  What are the financial, social, functional, physical, and psychological aspects of living with a chronic illness?

Pretend that you are going to interview a patient and family about their lived experiences related to chronic illness.  Make a list of 5 to 10 questions that you will ask the patient and family to gain an understanding of their meaning/experiences with chronic illness.  Be prepared to share your Quest findings in the next course discussion by presenting the questions you want to ask the patient and family who are experiencing a chronic illness.

Next, click on conclusion in the left menu.