Activities of Daily Living (ADLs
) -- Describes daily activities including dressing, bathing,
eating, toileting, transferring out of a bed or chair, and
walking. Inability to perform one or more ADLs is often used
as eligibility criteria for long term care services.
Adult Day Care -- Community-based group programs
designed to meet the needs of functionally and/or cognitively
impaired adults. Adult day centers provide a caring, home-like
setting for individuals who, for their own safety and well-being,
can no longer be left at home alone. Adult day centers offer
protected settings which are normally open five days a week
during business hours and include a mixture of health, social
and support services. Specialized programs for individuals
with Alzheimer's disease or related disorders also exist.
Adult Day Health Care -- A category of adult day care
which provides comprehensive, professional support in a protected
environment including on-site nurses, physical therapists,
social workers, and/or other professionals for adults who
are experiencing a decrease in physical, mental, and social
functioning and require tailored medical and/or psychiatric
supervision. Such centers normally offer a wide range of therapeutic
and rehabilitative activities as well as social activities,
meals, and transportation.
Alzheimer's Association -- A voluntary organization
that sponsors public education programs and offers supportive
services to individuals with Alzheimer's disease and their
families. Chapter offices are located throughout the U.S.
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Alzheimer's Disease -- A progressive neurological
disease that affects brain functions, including short-term
memory loss, inability to reason, and the deterioration of
language and the ability to care for oneself. An estimated
3% of people between the ages of 65 and 74 have Alzheimer's,
rising to about half those age 85 and over. Currently, Alzheimer's
disease is incurable.
Aphasia -- The inability to speak.
Assessment -- Collecting information about the resident.
Assisted Living Facilities (ALF) -- A residential
apartment complex which caters to older adults by providing
built-in care services and 24-hour on-call assistance. These
residential settings maximize independence, but do not provide
skilled nursing care. Most ALFs do not accept public financing
and rely on private pay from residents or their families.
Assistive Equipment -- This term refers to a range
of products and technology designed to help elders or people
with disabilities lead more independent lives. Examples include
special telephones for people with hearing impairments, walking
aids, elevated toilet seats, communication devices, etc.
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Caregiver -- Individuals (typically
family members or friends) who provide unpaid assistance to
see that the physical, psychological, and/or social needs
of another person are met.
Care Management Services -- A service in which a professional,
typically a nurse or social worker, assists in planning, arranging,
monitoring, or coordinating long term care services.
Care Manager -- A professional who finds and coordinates
appropriate social and medical services for elders or persons
with a disability and their families. Sometimes referred to
as a "case manager."
Care Provider -- See Provider
Case Management -- A method of organizing nursing
care; a case manager (an RN) coordinates resident care from
admission through discharge and into the home setting.
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Chronic Care -- Ongoing provision of medical, health,
social, psychological, and spiritual care services that enable
persons with serious and persistent conditions to optimize
their functional independence and well-being.
Chronic Condition -- A disease or condition is one
that lasts over a long period of time and typically cannot
be cured, often associated with disability.
Cognitive Impairment -- A deficiency in a person's
short or long term memory, orientation as to person, place
and time, deductive or abstract reasoning, or judgment. Typically
related to an illness or injury (e.g., Alzheimer's disease,
stroke or traumatic brain injury).
Cueing -- Directing or supervising the actions of
a person with a cognitive impairment (e.g., showing the person
how to eat, giving visual or verbal reminders for dressing
Custodial Care -- Assistance with activities of daily
living and related non-medical care. Medicare specifically
prohibits reimbursement for custodial care services in-home
or in a nursing home.
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Dehydration -- The excessive loss
of waters from tissues.
Dementia -- The medical term for a group of symptoms
that describes a loss of intellectual ability, including loss
of mental processes (e.g., vocabulary, abstract thinking,
judgment, memory loss, physical coordination) that interfere
with daily activities. The symptoms can be brought on by degenerative
diseases (e.g., Alzheimer's, Huntington's and Parkinson's
diseases), vascular diseases or stroke, metabolic disorders
(thyroid, liver kidney dysfunction or certain vitamin deficiencies),
AIDS, drugs and alcohol, or psychiatric disorders. Some dementing
disorders may respond to treatments, others do not.
Depression -- A reversible psychiatric disorder characterized
by an inability to concentrate, difficulty sleeping, feelings
of hopelessness, fatigue, the "blues," and guilt.
Diabetes -- Diabetes is a disorder in which the body
cannot convert foods properly into the energy needed for daily
activities. Diabetes tends to get passed on genetically but
factors other than heredity are responsible as well. There
are two main types of diabetes. Type I, or insulin-dependent,
is the more severe for of the disease. Type II, or adult onset,
is the more common form and accounts for more than 85% of
all cases. Diabetes cannot be cured, but it can be controlled.
Control requires carefully regulating one's diet, regular
exercise, and, if necessary, insulin.
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Dialysis -- An artificial way to remove waste and
excess fluid from the blood.
Discharge -- The official departure of a person from
a nursing center or nursing unit.
Discharge Planner -- A nurse or social worker who
assists patients and families in transitioning from the hospital
to another setting. Services may include assistance in locating
home care services, rehabilitation, or nursing home care.
Dysphagia -- Difficulty swallowing.
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Elder Abuse -- Elder abuse can be
defined in a variety of ways, including physical abuse, sexual
abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, neglect, abandonment,
and self-neglect. Most often it is defined as an action taken
by someone who is trusted by an elder that causes harm.
Evaluation --Measuring if the goals in the planning
step of the nursing process were met.
Geriatrics -- The care of aging people.
Geriatric Assessment Team -- A multidisciplinary team
of health care professionals, usually led by a geriatrician,
that provide coordinated diagnostic services to older adults.
Geriatric Care Manager – A professional, usually a
social worker or nurse with experience in geriatric care,
who performs an individual assessment, establishes a care
plan and oversees an elder's care. Geriatrician – A geriatrician
is a physician who specializes in the care of the elderly,
primarily those who are frail and have complex medical and
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Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
-- Prepaid health plan in which you pay a monthly premium
and the HMO covers your cost of care to see doctors within
a predefined network. You must choose a primary care physician
who coordinates all of your care and makes referrals to any
specialists you might need. As an HMO participant, you will
usually bear the cost of medical services which do not participate
in your plan’s network.
Hemodialysis -- Removes waste and fluid from the body
by filtering the blood through an artificial kidney called
Hospice Care -- Services and care at home (or in a
health facility) for terminally ill individuals and their
families. Hospice care primarily manages pain and discomfort.
People cannot enter Hospice care until their projected final
6 months of life.
Interdisciplinary Health Care Team --
A variety of health workers who work together to provide
health care for residents.
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Incontinence -- The inability of the body to control
urination or bowel movements or both.
Independent Practice Association -- An independent
group of physicians who contract with a health maintenance
organization to provide services for their members.
Licensed Practical Nurse -- An individual
who has completed a one year nursing program and who has passed
the licensing examination for practical nurses; called licensed
vocational nurse (LVN) in some states.
Long Term Care (LTC) -- Includes a wide range
of services at home, in the community and in residential care
facilities, including nursing homes. Long term care includes
health and social services, rehabilitative, therapeutic, skilled
nursing, and other supportive, palliative care or supervision
provided over an extended period of time.
Long Term Care Ombudsman Programs -- Federally-funded
services in all 50 states charged with investigating and resolving
complaints made by or on behalf of residents of nursing homes,
board and care homes, and other residential care facilities.
The program promotes policies and practices aimed at improving
the quality of life, health, safety, and rights of these residents.
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Medical Record -- A written
account of a resident's illness and response to treatment
and care given by the health team; chart.
Medicare -- The primary health insurance program
for people aged 65 and older and those with certain disabilities.
Medicare coverage provides for acute hospital care, physician
services, brief stays in skilled nursing facilities, and short-term
skilled home care related to a medical problem. Medicare coverage
is determined by the nature of services required by the patient,
not the specific diagnosis. Coverage is restricted to medical
care, and does not include prescription drugs or custodial
care at home or in nursing homes.
Medicaid -- A joint federal-state program which
covers health services for low-income individuals and families.
Coverage and eligibility requirements vary from state to state.
Medicaid is the primary payer of nursing home care. In addition,
many states offer some level of home and community-based long-term
care services for eligible individuals. Such additional services
are at the option of the state and are not mandated by Federal
Medigap Insurance -- A private insurance policy
designed to supplement the coverage of the Medicare program.
Medigap policies are typically designed to minimize Medicare
copayments and deductibles for covered services and generally
do not offer expanded coverage such as long term care services
or prescription drugs.
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Nurse Practitioner -- A registered
nurse with advanced training in physical examination and assessment.
Nursing Assistant -- An individual who gives
basic nursing care under the supervision of a registered nurse
or an LPN.
Nursing Center -- A facility that provides health
care services to residents who require regular or continuous
care; Licensed nursing staff is required.
Nursing Diagnosis -- A statement describing
a health problem that can be treated by nursing measures.
Nursing Home -- A generic term for a Skilled
Nursing Facility (SNF).
Nursing Home -- Nursing facility or nursing
Nursing Intervention -- An action or measure
taken by the nursing team to help the resident reach a goal.
Nursing Process -- The method used by RN's
to plan and deliver nursing care; its five steps are assessment,
nursing diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation.
Nursing Team -- The individuals involved in
providing nursing care: RN's, LPN's, and nursing assistants.
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Occupational Therapist -- A
rehabilitation professional who assists individuals to compensate
for functional limitations as a result of an injury, illness
or disability by learning skills and techniques needed to
perform activities of daily living and optimize independence.
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act -- A federal
law concerned with the quality of life, health, and safety
Of 1987 of residents.
Peritoneal Dialysis -- A process
that uses the lining of the abdominal cavity to remove waste
from the body.
Physical Therapist -- A rehabilitation professional
who utilizes various therapies to assist individuals in maximizing
mobility, and restoring strength and body movement following
an illness, injury (e.g., stroke, fall, back injury, etc).
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) -- A
group of health care providers that have agreed to provide
medical services to a health plan's members at specific costs.
PPO members make their own decisions about their health care
instead of going through a primary care physician.
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Primary Care Physician -- Under a health maintenance
organization or point-of-service plan, a primary care physician
is the first contact for health care. A primary care physician
(usually a general practitioner) is often used as a "gate
keeper" to make referrals to health care specialists, as necessary.
Primary Caregiver -- The person (usually the
spouse or adult child) that takes on the main or day-to-day
responsibility of caring for the physical, psychological,
and/or social needs of another person.
Primary Nursing -- A method of organizing nursing
care; a nurse is responsible for the total care of specific
residents on a 24 hour basis.
Private Insurance Plan -- An insurance plan
bought by an individual.
Provider -- Any health care professional (e.g.,
doctor, nurse or home care worker) or institution (hospital,
clinic, or nursing home) that provides health care or related
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Registered Nurse (RN) -- An
individual who has studied nursing for 2,3, or 4 years and
who has passed a licensing examination.
Rehabilitation -- The process of restoring the disabled
person to the highest possible level of physical, psychological,
social, and economic functioning.
Resident Room -- The personal space, furniture, and
equipment provided for the individual by the nursing center.
Residential Care Facility -- A generic term for a
group home, specialized apartment complex or other institution
which provides care services where individuals live. The term
is used to refer to a range of residential care options including
assisted living facilities, board and care homes and skilled
Respite Care – Temporary or intermittent care for
individuals with disabilities, illnesses, dementia or other
health concerns to give relief to caregivers from the demands
of ongoing care. Respite care can be provided at home, in
the community (e.g., adult day care centers or special respite
programs) or overnight in a facility.
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Restorative Aide -- A nursing assistant with special
training in rehabilitation skills.
Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) --
A residential care setting offering a protective, therapeutic
environment for individuals who require rehabilitative care
or can no longer live independently because of chronic physical
or mental condition requiring round-the-clock skilled nursing
care. SNFs must be licensed by the state and are subject to
certain state and federal regulations.
Speech Therapist -- Rehabilitation professionals who
provide therapy to overcome speech and communication problems,
such as speech difficulties following a stroke. Speech therapists
may also provide assistance for managing swallowing problems.
Sub-Acute Care -- Specifies a level of maintenance
care where there is no urgent or life-threatening condition
which requires medical treatment. Hospitals typically do not
provide sub-acute care on an ongoing basis. Sub-acute care
may include long-term ventilator care or other procedures
provided on a routine basis either at home or by trained staff
at a skilled nursing facility.
Support Group -- A gathering of people with a common
experience (e.g., a disease, disorder, caregiving, etc.) where
one can share one's thoughts, feelings and concerns and receive
information and support from other group members. Groups may
or may not be facilitated by an expert. Many support groups
are now available on-line via the Internet.
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Team Nursing -- A method of organizing
nursing care; a nurse serves as a team leader; the team leader
assigns other nurses and nursing assistants to care for certain
Terminal Illness -- An illness or injury for which
there is no reasonable expectation of recovery.
Urinary Incontinence -- The inability
to control the loss of urine from the bladder.
Vital Signs -- Temperature, pulse,
respirations, and blood pressure.