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Glossary for Nursing Homes / Long Term Care Homes

Someone who is responsible for the day-to-day operations of a long-term care home. This person is accountable to the LTC home operator.

A process of evaluation used by organizations. It is needed for the evaluation of services and to improve the quality of services.

This can mean basic accommodation (standard room or basic accommodation) or preferred accommodation (semi-private or private room) in a LTC home. The cost for each type of room is regulated by a maximum government accommodation rate.

Accommodation Costs
According to the mandate of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, at least 40% of the beds in a long-term care home have to be available at the basic accommodation rate.

Activities of Daily Living (ADL)
Tasks that independent people do every day. This includes bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, walking or wheeling, and getting into and out of bed.

A sudden and severe condition.

Adaptive/Assistive Equipment
A tool which helps the user in self-care, work or leisure activities.

Adult Day Care Center
A community program that offers structured activities and meals. Transportation and some health services may be offered. Programs can be attended full or part-time, and they are usually during weekdays.

Advanced Directives
A written statement of one’s preferences and directions concerning health care. These statements protect people’s rights even if they become mentally or physically unable to communicate their wishes.

Age-Associated Memory Impairment
Mild memory loss that grows with age. Mild memory loss is normal and shouldn’t be confused dementia.

Alzheimer's Disease
A progressive and irreversible disease where the brain cells degenerate; this leads to dementia. Alzheimer’s usually occurs in the elderly. It starts with forgetfulness and progresses to severe memory loss and disorientation, lack of concentration, loss of ability to calculate numbers. In the end, the severity of all symptoms increases and the person’s personality changes considerably.

To walk.

The loss of ability to express oneself and/or understand language.

Inability to perform a complex movement because of deficiencies in cognition.

A formal evaluation of the resident's physical and psychological state and ability to perform activities of daily living. This is needed to determine a resident's care needs.

Assisted Living
Senior housing that have 24 hour on site staff, congregate dining, and activity programs. There can be some nursing services for an extra fee.

A doctor who specializes in measuring hearing, and correcting hearing impairment.

Bed Sores
Pressure Ulcers

To be bed ridden.

Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation (CCHSA)
A council that sets standards for long-term care homes. Accreditation through the CCHSA is voluntary.

Someone who takes care of an elderly person or someone with physical or mental limitations.

Case Management
A system where one person helps the insured person and their family to decide on and direct necessary health care services and the best setting for those services.

A long-lasting illness or symptom.

Chronic Disease
A disease which is permanent, or which leaves residual disability, or which is caused by nonreversible pathological change.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
A group of chronic respiratory disorders where the air flow is restricted from the lungs.

Knowing; being aware of thoughts. The ability to reason and understand.

Cognitive Impairment
A weakened mental capacity, like short-term memory loss.

Multiple disease processes.

Companion Care
Services that are offered in a patient's home, like helping the senior with everyday activities, making meals, grooming, ensuring safety, etc. Medical care is not provided.

A cerebrovascular accident or stroke, in which an area of the brain is damaged by a sudden interruption of blood supply.

A progressive mental disorder that affects memory, judgment and cognitive ability.

Developmental Disability (DD)
A serious and chronic disability, which is caused by a mental or physical impairment or combination of both. People with a DD have limitations in three or more of these areas: self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity of independent living, economic self-sufficiency. People who have a DD often need long-term treatment and care-planning.

Discharge Planner
A social worker or nurse who helps patients and their families with health care planning after a hospital stay.

A disorder that causes difficulty swallowing.

Swelling caused by a collection of fluid in the tissues.

Eden Alternative
A type of skilled nursing facility that has children, nature and animals as part of life there.

End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)
A condition where the kidneys stop functioning, so that the individual needs to receive dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive.

Fee for Service
A method of charging where a practitioner charges for each encounter or service. Most physicians typically use this method of billing.

Fee Schedule
A list of accepted charges or established allowances for specified medical, dental, or other services. A Fee Schedule is either a physician's or third party's standard or maximum charges for the listed procedures.

Foley Catheter
A tube that is inserted into the urinary bladder. Urine drains through the tube and then it is collected in a plastic pouch.

The branch of medicine focusing on health care for the elderly, and the treatment of diseases connected to aging.

GI Tube
A tube surgically inserted through an opening in the stomach. GI tubes are an alternative way to get nutritional sustenance. It is for people who can’t eat by mouth.

Health Care Directive
A written legal document allowing a person to appoint an agent, who can make health care decisions on their behalf if they become unable to make decisions.

Health Care Power of Attorney
When a health care agent is appointed to make decisions, when the principal can’t make or communicate decisions.

Hospice/Palliative Care
Care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. This kind of treatment relieves symptoms, such as pain, but it won’t cure the disease. It is usually provided at home by health professionals, but there are many nursing facilities and acute care settings that also offer hospice. Hospice care is generally offered in the last six months of life, and emphasizes comfort measures and counseling to give social, spiritual and physical support to the dying patient and the family.

Hospice Care
Providing short-term inpatient services to manage pain and other symptoms related to a terminal illness.

Indemnity Benefit
A flat payment for services, which is made directly to the policyholder rather than the provider.

When someone is incapable of handling assets and exercising certain legal rights. This is determined by a legal proceeding.

Being unable to control bladder and/or bowel functions, partially or totally.

A patient who has stays overnight at a hospital or other health facility. When this is the case, the health facility is responsible for the patient's room and board.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL)
An index measuring one’s ability and degree of independence in cognitive and social performance. Activities like shopping, cooking, doing housework, managing money, and using the telephone.

IV/Infusion Therapies
Liquid solutions or medications being administered directly into the blood stream through an intravenous catheter. Some examples of infusion therapies are: total parenteral nutrition, antibiotics or other drugs, blood, and chemotherapy.

Living Will
A will where someone mandates in advance that they don’t want any artificial life-prolonging treatment to be used if they develop a terminal and irreversible condition and becomes unable to make health care decisions.

Long Term Care (LTC)
Medical and support services for people who can’t function on their own because of a chronic condition; these services are expected to be needed over a prolonged period of time. Long term care can be care given at home by family members who are assisted by voluntary or employed help, or adult day health care, or care in assisted living or skilled nursing facilities.

Long-Term Care Facilities
Institutions that offer health care to people who can’t live independently. Facilities can provide short-term rehabilitative services, as well as chronic care management.

Long Term Care Insurance
An insurance policy that helps to reduce some of the costs of long term care. Benefits are usually paid as a fixed dollar amount (per day or per visit) for expenses that are covered. Certain conditions may be excluded or limited from coverage.

Managed Care
A system of financing and providing health care for a set fee, using a network of health care providers who have agreed to these set fees.

MDS (Minimum Data Set)
A core set of elements used in making comprehensive assessments for all patients of long term care facilities that are certified to participate in Medicare and Medicaid. The items in a MDS standardize communication about patient problems and conditions within facilities, between facilities and outside agencies.

Nursing Facility
A facility that is licensed to provide custodial care, or rehabilitative care like physical, occupational or speech therapy, or specialized care for Alzheimer's patients. Nursing facilities also offer planned social, recreational and spiritual activities to residents.

Nursing Home
A facility that has an organized professional staff and beds for patients to stay overnight. Nursing homes provide continuous nursing and other health-related, psychosocial, and personal services. These services are for patients who are not in an acute phase of illness, but who mainly need continued care.

Registered Nurse (RN)
A nurse who graduated from a formal program of nursing education and passed a state-administered exam. RNs have more formal training than licensed practical nurses, and they have a wide range of responsibility that includes all aspects of nursing care.

Occupational Therapist
An occupational therapists is a person that evaluates, treats, and consults with people who can’t cope with the tasks of everyday living because of physical illness or injury, psychosocial disability, or developmental deficits. Occupational therapists work in hospitals, rehabilitation agencies, LTC facilities, and other health-care organizations.

Personal Care
Services like help with walking, getting out of bed, bathing, dressing, toileting, eating, and preparing special diets. These services are provided by a nurse's aide, dietician or other health professional.

Physical Therapy
Services to relieve pain, restore maximum function, and prevent disability or injury. These services are offered by specially trained and licensed physical therapists.

Power of Attorney
A legal document that allows one person to act on another's behalf in financial or real-estate dealings.

Pre-Admission Screening
An assessment of a one's functional, social, medical, and nursing needs. This is to decide if the person should be admitted to a nursing facility or other community-based care services available to recipients of Medicaid.

Preexisting Conditions
Medical conditions that have existed, were diagnosed, or were being treated before an insurance policy was taken out. Sometimes, long-term care insurance policies limit the benefits payable for preexisting conditions.

Pressure Ulcers
A breakdown of the skin; these are also called pressure sores or decubitis ulcers. Older, bed-ridden people are very susceptible to pressure ulcers; prevention includes turning every two hours.

Psychotrophic Drugs
Antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and anti-psychotic drugs, which are used to treat delusions, extreme agitation, hallucinations, or paranoia. These drugs are often called mind or behavior altering drugs.

Range of Motion (ROM)
The range through which a joint can move without causing pain.

A person who lives in a long-term care facility. Since nursing facilities are licensed health care facilities, residents can also be called patients.

Resident Care Plan
A written plan of care for residents of a nursing facility. An interdisciplinary team develops the plan by specifying measurable objectives and timetables for services which are required to meet a resident's medical, nursing, mental and psychosocial needs.

Residents' Council
An independent, self-determining council of residents in a LTC home. All residents can be members. The Residents' Council can have an elected Executive. It meets regularly to hear and discuss residents' concerns, to plan activities, and to have a vote in decisions and routines that affect their daily lives. A resident may be represented by a friend or family member who is the substitute decision maker for that resident. If a Residents' Council does not exist in a LTC home, the Administrator of the home has to inform all residents once a year that they have a right to form a Council. If at least three residents want to form a Residents' Council, the LTC home has to support it.

Respiratory Therapy
Therapy that helps patients with breathing problems to reduce fatigue and increase tolerance in doing daily activities.

Respite Care
Scheduled short-term care in a nursing facility, which is offered temporarily to someone who needs this level of care but who is usually cared for in the community. The purpose of scheduled short-term care is to let the caregivers have some relief, while still providing nursing facility care to the person who needs it.

Senior Housing
Independent housing, usually apartments. If supportive services are needed, they are provided through a contract arrangement between the tenant and the service provider.

Senile Dementia
An old term for organic dementia related to old age. Today it is called dementia and/or Alzheimer's.

Side Rail
Rails on a hospital-type bed that protect a patient from falling out of the bed.

Speech Therapy
Therapy to help people overcome communication conditions such as aphasia, swallowing difficulties and voice disorders. Some of the costs may be covered by Medicare.

Substitute Decision Maker (SDM)
A person that has the legal authority to make decisions concerning personal care issues and/or property matters on behalf of a person who can’t make and understand the consequences of their decisions.

Sub-Acute Care
A level of care which is designed for someone who has had an acute event caused by an illness, and needs skilled nursing or rehabilitation but does not need to stay at a hospital.