GLOSSARY

OF TERMS

A

Activities of Daily Living (ADL): The most commonly used measure of disability. ADLs determine whether an individual needs assistance to perform basic activities, such as eating, bathing, dressing, toiling, and getting into or out of a bed or chair. 

 

Acute Care: Short-term, intense medical care for an illness or injury usually requiring hospitalization.

 

Advance Directives: Legal documents that allow you to put in writing what kind of health care you would want or name someone who can speak for you if you were too ill to speak for yourself. These legal documents help ensure your wishes are followed, but it’s important to talk to your family, friends, and health care providers to have copies of your legal documents. It’s better to think about these important decisions and have plans in place before you’re ill or a crisis strikes. 

 

Adult Day Care: A program, offered in an institutional setting, that provides a wide range of health, social, and recreational services to elderly adults who require supervision and care while members of the family or other informal caregivers are away at work.

Aging in Place: The ability to live in one's own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level. Defined by Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

 

Alzheimer’s Disease: A progressive degenerative disease of the brain producing loss of memory, confusion, irritability, severe loss of functioning, and ultimately death. 

 

Ambulatory: Refers to the ability to move about at will.

C

CDC: Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The federal public health agency in the United States. 

 

D

Dementia: It is characterized by progressive mental deterioration with loss of memory. Alzheimer’s disease is one disorder that leads to severe dementia.

 

DNI (Do-Not-Intubate) Orders: If an individual is unable to breathe on their own chest compressions and cardiac drugs may be used, but no breathing tube will be placed.

DNR (Do-Not-Resuscitate) Orders: Advance directives telling medical professionals not to perform CPR. Through DNR orders, patients can have their wishes known regarding aggressive efforts at resuscitation. 

 

Durable Medical Equipment (DME): Supplies and equipment that are not immediately consumed, such as ostomy supplies, wheelchairs, and oxygen tanks. 

 

Durable Power of Attorney: A written document that provides a legal means for a patient to delegate authority to someone else to act on the patient’s behalf even after the patient has been incapacitated.

 

H

 

Health: A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Defined by The World Health Organization.

 

HIPPA:

HIPAA is the acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that was passed by Congress in 1996.  HIPAA does the following:

  • Provides the ability to transfer and continue health insurance coverage for millions of American workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs;


  • Reduces health care fraud and abuse


  • Mandates industry-wide standards for health care information on electronic billing and other processes.


  • Requires the protection and confidential handling of protected health information.

Home Health Services: Services such as nursing, therapy, and health-related homemaker or social services brought to patients in their own homes because such patients are generally unable to leave their homes safely to get the care they need.

I

 

IADLs (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living): A person’s ability to perform household and social tasks, such as home maintenance, cooking, shopping, and managing money. 

L

 

Living Will: A legal document in which a patient puts into writing what his or her preferences are about treatment during terminal illness and the use of life-sustaining technology. It is a directive in strutting a physician to withhold or discontinue medical treatment when the patient is terminally ill and unable to make decisions. 

Long-term Care Insurance: Long-term care insurance is an insurance product, sold in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada that helps pay for the costs associated with long-term care. Long-term care insurance covers care generally not covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.

 

M

Medicaid: A joint federal-state program of health insurance for the poor.

 

Medicare: A federal program of health insurance for the elderly, some disabled persons, and persons with end-stage renal disease.

Q

 

Quality Of Life: (1) Quality of life refers to factors considered important by patients, such as environmental comfort, security, interpersonal relations, personal preferences, and autonomy in making decisions when institutionalized. (2) Overall satisfaction with life during and following a person’s encounter with the health care delivery system.

P

 

Power of Attorney: The authority to act for another person in specified or all legal or financial matter a legal document giving power of attorney to someone. 

R

 

Respite Care: A service that provides temporary relief to informal caregivers such as family members.

S

Sandwich Generation: The sandwich generation refers to middle-aged individuals who are supporting both aging parents and growing children. The sandwich generation is named so because they are effectively "sandwiched" between the obligation to care for their aging parents and children, who require financial, physical, and emotional support.

Shadowing: occurs when the patient follows or "hovers" around the caregiver and may persist in talking or asking questions. Safety is not usually a concern related to shadowing.

Sundowning: Sundown syndrome occurs when the patient becomes restless in the evening or during the night.

 

V

VA: Department of Veterans Affairs. 

W

Wandering: is defined as ambulation that may appear aimless but often has a purpose. There are many unproven theories for wandering.