Tools & Resources

Glossary

Below you will find the definition of commonly used health care terms, abbreviations, and the terminology that is consistently used in health care.

A

Activities of Daily Living (ADL) – Activities performed by people every day without needing assistance. There are six basic ADLs: eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, walking and continence. A client’s ability to perform ADLs is important in determining what type and where the care may be administered.

Acute Care – Health care given to clients who generally require hospital admission for immediate and severe episodes of illness, requiring immediate intervention, medical attention, equipment and personnel. Unlike chronic care, acute care is often necessary for only a short time.

Ambulatory Care – The ability to get from one place to another independently with or without the use of assistive devices, such as manual wheelchairs, canes or walkers.

B

Bathing – Bathing is essential to an individual’s sense of well-being; it refreshes the body and spirit, provides relaxation while cleansing the skin, and stimulates circulation.

C

Chronic Care – Care and treatment rendered to individuals whose health problems are of a long-term and continuing nature. Rehabilitation facilities and nursing homes may be considered chronic care facilities.

Companionship – Whether it’s conversation and company, or just eating a meal together, having someone to sit and visit with can help make for a happier, healthier life.

Convalescent Care – Term often used for short-term custodial care, and refers to a “recovery” period after an illness or injury when some assistance may be needed that does not require skilled care.

F

Feeding – We understand that it is difficult for anyone to come to terms with not being able to feed oneself. This loss of independence is real, and our caregivers are extremely sensitive to the subject. We take the extra effort to make the client feel as comfortable as possible at mealtimes.

G

Geriatric Care – Medical field specializing in care for the elderly and all associated ailments of growing old.

H

Homemaker – General term that refers to a variety of non-skilled at home services, which may include some minor hands-on care, such as assistance with dressing and personal care, but also includes shopping, meal preparation, laundry services, housekeeping and similar activities.

I

Incontinence Care – The inability to control urination or defecation can be embarrassing and unsanitary if not taken care of promptly. Our caregivers understand the loss of independence and privacy, and are trained to provide care in a sensitive manner.

L

Light Housekeeping – Vacuuming, dusting, mopping floors, cleaning bathrooms, showers, tubs and toilets, kitchens, sinks, counters, removing trash, and tidying up all rooms are amongst the duties that are performed for our clients.

Light Meal Preparation – Sometimes our clients do not get to eat well-balanced meals because of their current situation. Our caregivers can prepare hot, delicious and nutritious meals on an as-needed basis. Enjoying nutritious meals certainly allows for a healthier lifestyle.

M

Medical and Non-Medical Appointments – Trips to doctor appointments, beauty salons, shopping, wherever the client likes to go. Getting clients out and about is good for their mind, body and spirit.

Medical Reminders – Non-registered caregivers (Personal Support Workers) do not administer medications. They can assist the individual who shares in the responsibility of taking their own medication and help open medication containers. They can also read labels, and remind the person to take their medications.

Mobility – Activity and exercise are vital to a healthy lifestyle, and promote both physical and mental health. The many benefits of mobility include: increased stamina, a strengthened heart, lowered blood pressure, improved digestion, stress release, and increased mental alertness.

O

Oral Hygiene – Daily oral care can prevent bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, and assist in prevention of other diseases. Proper teeth, mouth, and gum care are essential to maintaining good oral and dental hygiene.

P

Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) – In essence, PHIPA applies to any personal health information collected, used or disclosed by a custodian (i.e., health practitioners and facilities), regardless of whether the custodian engages in commercial activities. PHIPA provides more workable consent procedures for health information. Generally implied consent where the collection, use and disclosure of personal information will be sufficient for the provision of health care. Practitioners can usually assume that a signed consent form relating to personal health information is valid. The rules for substituted consent for the handling of personal health information are very similar to those for substituted consent for treatment. PHIPA also provides more options for using and disclosing personal health information without the client’s consent.

Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) – Initially, PIPEDA applied only to personal information about customers or employees that was collected, used or disclosed in the course of commercial activities by the federally regulated private sector, organizations such as banks, airlines, and telecommunications companies. The Act now applies to personal information collected, used or disclosed by the retail sector, publishing companies, the service industry, manufacturers and other provincially regulated organizations. The Act does not apply to the personal information of employees of these provincially regulated organizations.

Positioning – Moving or placing a person into a correct posture position encourages the functional activity of the body’s many systems. It assists in eliminating pressure areas on the skin, reducing atrophy and stiffening of muscles, encourages proper breathing, digestion, and elimination.

Privacy Act – The Privacy Act took effect on July 1, 1983. This Act imposes obligations on some 250 federal government departments and agencies to respect privacy rights by limiting the collection, use and disclosure of personal information. The Privacy Act gives individuals the right to access and request correction of personal information about themselves held by these federal government organizations.

Q

Quality Assurance – A formal methodology designed to objectively ensure the appropriateness and effectiveness of client care. It includes identifying deficiencies, implementing corrective actions to remedy any deficiencies, and monitoring the corrective actions to ensure that the quality of care has been enhanced.

R

Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) – The scope of the practice model is set out in the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, and consists of two elements: a scope of practice statement and a series of authorized or controlled acts. The RHPA Scope of Practice Statement states that each regulated health profession has a Scope of Practice Statement that describes in a general way what the profession does and the methods that it uses. The Scope of Practice Statement is not protected in the sense that it does not prevent others from performing the same activities. Rather, it acknowledges the overlapping Scope of Practice of the health professions. The Scope of Practice in nursing is the promotion of health and the assessment of, the provision of, care for, and the treatment of, health conditions by supportive, preventive, therapeutic, palliative and rehabilitative means in order to attain or maintain optimal function. (Nursing Act, 1991) Controlled Acts are activities that are considered to be potentially harmful, if performed by unqualified persons. There are 13 Controlled Acts established in the RHPA.

Respite Care – Rest and relief for family members who are assisting with the care of their loved ones.

T

Toileting – Elimination is an important and normal body function. However, it is an activity that is very private and often difficult to request assistance with. Clients not only lose their sense of independence, but are also embarrassed by their predicament. Our caregivers provide a comfortable, safe and acceptable environment for toileting needs.

"Cheerfulness and content are great beautifiers, and are famous preservers of youthful looks." - Charles Dickens

Glossary