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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 or toileting).

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 social problems.

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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 a dialyzer.

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 law.

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 center.

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 social services.

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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 nursing facilities.

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 residents.

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.

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