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Caregiver Glossary of Terms

  • Published: 2008-12-10 (Rev. 2009-01-11) - Contact: Disabled World
  • Synopsis: Many terms used in the caregiving or life care industry can be confusing this glossary explains some of the meanings of caregiver terms.

Main Document

Many terms used in the caregiver or life care industry can be confusing this glossary explains some of the meanings of caregivers terms.

Caregivers Glossary

This glossary covers terms related to elder care

Activities of Daily Living: - Activities of Daily Living (ADL's) are tasks that we as humans perform when taking care of essential body upkeep. These ADL tasks are similar to Instrumental Activities of Daily Living but are more bodily issues than social/societal. (Bathing, Dressing, Toileting, Transferring, Continence, Eating)

Acute Care: - Care in a hospital setting which includes surgery, doctor visits, xrays etc.

ADA Consulting: - Americans with Disability consulting provides professional direction with regards to accessible design, construction as well as direction in the areas of employment and "reasonable accommodations."

Adult Day Care: - Provides non-medical care and supervision to adults in need of personal services, protection, assistance, guidance, or training. Adult Day Care assists its participants to remain in the community.

Adult Day Health: - Provides an organized day program of therapeutic, social activities, health activities and services to adults with functional impairments, either physical or mental, for the purpose of restoring or maintaining optimal capacity for self-care.

Adult Education: - Any services or instruction below the post-secondary level for individuals at least 16 years of age, who are not enrolled or required to be enrolled in secondary school under state law.

Adult Residential Care Homes: - Adult Residential Care Homes (ARCH) provide for the social and daily needs of individuals rather than medical needs. Residents are usually people who are functionally semi-independent, but need assistance in the activities of daily living. Dietary, housekeeping, social and recreational programs, and medical monitoring are the primary functions of these facilities. ARCHs are designated as Type I or Type II. Type I care homes are limited to 5 or fewer residents in a family home. Type II care homes are institutional settings and may care for as many as 50 to 60 residents.

Advocacy: - Active support or argument in favor of something such as a cause, idea, or policy.

Assisted Living: - Assisted Living provides housing along with supportive services for persons needing assistance with personal care or medications.

Assistive Technology: - As you grow older you may find that you need to change how you do things. If so, assistive technology (a new term for adaptive devices) might have the answer. Assistive technology includes devices which will help you continue doing the activities you have always done, but in a slightly different way. For example, it might be a walker that makes moving around possible.

Case Management: - Client-centered professional level service designed to assist, identify, and obtain services needed.

Certified Nurse Aide: - (CNA) A Nurse Aide who has taken special training and passed proficiency testing. The certification is given by the state and entitles them to work in a facility or private home.

Continence: - Bowel or Badder Control

Continuing Care Retirement Communities: - Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) combine independent living, assisted living, and a nursing facility under one roof.

Continuous Care: - Home care services that are provided on an extended basis.

Convalescent Homes: - See Skilled Nursing Facilities

Custodial Care: - Care that primarily deals with activities of daily living like bathing, dressing, and supervision.

Developmental Disabilities: - Developmental disabilities cover persons whose disability occurs before age 22 and includes a mental or physical impairment or a combination of both. There must be a substantial limitation in three or more of these major life areas: self-care; expressive or receptive language; learning; mobility; capacity for independent living; economic self-sufficiency; or self-direction.

Disability Services/Travel and Transportation: - Any airline, ground transportation, and accommodations services that provide accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Disabled Persons Equipment and Supplies: - The equipment and supplies that help persons with physical, sensory, or mental impairments that can make performing an everyday task more difficult. Some disabilities, such as a broken hip, may be temporary; others are relatively minor, such as vision impairments that can be modified by corrective lenses. Other disabilities classified as severe may not represent a handicap that is, the inability to take part in community life on an equal level with others. For instance, a person confined to a wheelchair may be able to live independently if physical and social barriers to mobility have been removed.

Enteral Nutrition: - Fluids, nutrients and electrolytes administered through specialized feeding tubes to the esophagus, stomach or intestines.

Enterostomal Therapy: - The enterostomal therapist provides direct patient care and education to persons with abdominal stomach wounds, fistulas, drains, pressure sores, and incontinence.

Foster Care: - A residential alternative to long term care. As a Medicaid Waiver program, it is available to Medicaid eligible individuals in need of ICF or SNF level of care. Individual families are recruited and trained to provide long term care in private homes. Case management is an integral component, providing monitoring, oversight, supervision, and training to foster caregivers.

Geriatric Care Manager: - A geriatric care manager is a professional who specializes in assisting older people and their families with long-term care arrangements. GCMs have training in gerontology, social work, nursing or counseling.

Guardianship Services: - Guardianship is a legal relationship between a competent adult and a person over the age of 18 whose disability causes incompetency (a ward). The disability may be caused by mental illness, developmental disability, age, accident, or other causes. A developmental disability or mental illness is not, by itself sufficient reason to declare someone incompetent. In addition, a person may not be declared incompetent simply because it saves someone money or because the disabled person acts or uses personal money in ways that seem odd to someone else. Competency has to do with a person's ability to make an 'informed decision', or, with the risk of harm that they may experience due to their inability to provide for themselves or manage their affairs.

Home Health Aide: - (HHA) A Nurse Aide who has been tested and proven competent in home health skills. Home Health Aides are able to work in the private home.

Home Health Service: - Services that allow you to remain safely at home with some assistance in daily living, whether it's medical, personal hygiene, companionship, rehabilitation and support to aid the healing process after illness, surgery or injury.

Home Infusion: - Supplies essential nutrients, fluids, electrolytes, medication, blood or blood products directly into the patient's blood stream. Specific therapies include antibiotics, diuretics, pain control, hydration, chemotherapy and total parenteral nutrition.

Home Medical Equipment: - (HME) Equipment used by the patient to support attainment of highest level of independent function. HME includes hospital beds, walkers, bath benches, trapezes, oxygen and ventilators.

Homebound: - Inability to leave home without a taxing effort, the assistance of someone else, or the use of crutches, cane, walker, wheelchair or special transportation.

Homemaker Service: - A person who performs general household duties such as cooking, cleaning, child care and shopping for a client unable to perform these for themselves. A homemaker is not trained to provide personal care.

Hospice: - A coordinated program of palliative and supportive care for individuals with terminal illness. An interdisciplinary team of professionals and volunteers provides services in the patient's place of residence or in an inpatient setting during the illness and period of bereavement.

Independent Retirement Housing: - Independent Retirement Housing provides meals, activities, housekeeping, and maintenance to independent residents.

Infusion Therapy: - Supplies essential nutrients, fluids, electrolytes, medication, blood or blood products directly into the patient's blood stream. Specific therapies include antibiotics, diuretics, pain control, hydration, chemotherapy and total parenteral nutrition.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living: - Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL's) are tasks like shopping, bill paying, cooking and other tasks very necessary to an individual and a household. These tasks are similar to the Activities of Daily Living (ADL's) but are more social/societal than bodily issues.

Insurance/Disability: - An insurance policy that pays benefits in the event that the policyholder becomes incapable of working.

Insurance/Long Term Care: - Long-term care insurance is one of the ways you may pay for long-term care. This type of insurance will pay for some or all of your long-term care. Long-term care insurance is a relatively new type of insurance. It was introduced in the 1980s as nursing home insurance but has changed a lot and now covers much more than nursing home care.

Intermediate Nursing Facilities: - Intermediate Nursing Facilities (ICF) provide less intensive nursing care than that which is typically found in a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF); however, many ICF patients may require higher levels of care to assist them with the activities of daily living. ICF services include 24-hour nursing care along with rehabilitative, social services, physical, occupational, and other therapies as prescribed by the patient's physician.

Intermittent Care: - Home care services provided on an episodic basis.

Job Placement and Vocational Rehab Service: - Services that assist individuals with disabilities to overcome barriers to employment, independence and community integration.

Live in: - A non-relative living in the patient's home who provides assistance as requested by the patient.

Long Term Care: - Services provided for an extended period of time to patients of all ages with severe chronic diseases or disabilities involving substantial functional impairment. Long Term Care can range from skilled medical care to personal assistance with activities of daily living.

Long Term Home Care: - Services and equipment provided in the home for an extended period of time to patients of all ages with severe chronic diseases or disabilities involving substantial functional impairment. Long-term home care can be a substitute for placement in a skilled nursing facility.

Managed Care: - Assessment of nursing and social needs. Coordination of providers, oversight of services.

Medicaid: - An individual will only qualify for Medicaid if they have satisfied income impoverishment tests.

Medical Social Services: - If a patient is having difficulty adjusting to physical, psychological, financial, environmental, or familial limitations which inhibit his or her recovery from an illness or injury, a medical social worker (MSW) may provide advice and counsel, and instruct in the utilization of appropriate community resources.

Medicare: - An individual is eligible for Medicare if he/she is 65 or older, or has chronic renal disease, or is disabled. Medicare mainly provides for acute services and 90 days of skilled care.

Nurse Aide: - Provides personal care including assistance with ambulation, bathing, dressing and meal preparation.

Nursing Homes: - Provides long term care for those with considerable assistance needs. Services include medical, nursing, personal care, social and ADL assistance. Generally reserved for persons who do not need acute care but require more attention than is provided in an Assisted Living Facility.

Occupational Therapy: - (OT) Is needed if a patient has suffered an injury or illness which has affected perceptual motor skills or the ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL), such as dressing, bathing, toileting, eating or meal preparation. The occupational therapy program may consist of evaluation, ADL training, adaptive equipment recommendations, to maximize potential in perceptual motor and daily activity skills. Typically, this service is considered skilled care.

Physical Therapy: - (PT) Is needed if a patient has suffered an injury or illness which has affected motor skills or function. The physical therapy program may consist of evaluation, therapeutic exercises, gait training, adaptive equipment recommendations, massage, heat, cold or electrical treatments, all geared toward helping the patient attain his/her maximum functional motor potential. Typically, this service is considered skilled care.

Plan of Care: - A written document signed by the physician or other licensed health professional. It outlines the prescribed care that is to be given to the patient.

Private Duty Nursing: - Nursing services provided in the home or in a facility exclusively to an individual primarily for observation and support and requiring a minimal degree of skilled interventions.

Prosthetic Devices: - Mechanical devices adapted to reproduce the form, and as far as possible, the function, of a lost or absent member. An example would be an artificial arm or leg.

Psychiatric Nursing: - Provided by nurses specifically trained and experienced in psychiatry. It includes observations and interventions related to the patient's behavior, social interactions, and administration of medications, as well as instructions about these medications and their side effects.

Rehabilitation Equipment and Supplies: - The equipment and supplies that help with any program designed around exercise, guidance, or instruction afforded to those with a particular disability, whether physical, psychological, or social.

Rehabilitation Services: - Therapeutic care services for persons with disabilities, usually physical, occupational, or speech therapy.

Residential Care Homes: - Residential Care Homes provide for the social and daily needs of individuals rather than medical needs. Residents are usually people who are functionally semi-independent, but need assistance in the activities of daily living. Dietary, housekeeping, social and recreational programs, and medical monitoring are the primary functions of these facilities. Adult Residential Care Homes are designated as Type I or Type II. Type I care homes are limited to 5 or fewer residents in a family home. Type II care homes are institutional settings and may care for as many as 50 to 60 residents.

Respiratory Therapy: - Home health nurses provide treatment, education and training to patients with lung problems. Respiratory home care patients are supplied with needed respiratory equipment such as concentrators, liquid and cylinder oxygen systems, aerosol and drug nebulization equipment, and home ventilator support systems.

Respite Care: - Providing temporary relief to the caregiver(s) from the duties of caring for the patient. Respite care may be provided by members of the interdisciplinary home care team, homemakers or volunteers in the patient's home or other residential setting.

Rest Homes: - A facility or institution where people are cared for. Often synonymous with nursing homes.

Retirement Communities and Homes: - Housing for older adults with amenities such as transportation and social activities. On-site meals, banking, health screenings, pharmacy and sundry shopping may be available.

Senior Housing: - Age-restricted housing for older adults who are able to care for themselves and live independently. Usually no additional services such as meals or transportation are provided.

Skilled Nursing: - (SN) The performance of procedures or activities requiring the skill of a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse. These activities may include assessment, education, and administration of medications and treatments. Medicare reimbursable, skilled nursing services include skilled observation, skilled "hands on" intervention, skilled teaching, and management and evaluation of the patient care plan.

Skilled Nursing Facilities: - Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) provide continuous 24-hour nursing care for convalescent and/or critically or chronically ill residents. RNs, LPNs, and Certified Nurse Aides provide care and services prescribed by physicians with emphasis on medical nursing care. Physical, occupational, and other therapies are offered as prescribed by the patient's physician.

Speech Pathology/Speech Therapy: - (SP)/(ST) May be recommended if the patient has suffered an illness or injury which has affected speaking or hearing ability and/or language skills. The speech therapist helps the patient relearn and practice language skills.

Tuck In Service: - A service that makes contact with an at-risk individual to make sure that he or she is not in any harm. This check is usually done in the evening and could be either a telephone call or a visit to the person's home.







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