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Glossary of Terms for Caregivers

23 Nov 2017

Adult Day Centre: Provides attended care, recreation and socialization in an active group setting.

Advance Care Planning: The process of planning, in advance, for personal and financial care should one be unable to make decisions on their own behalf.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): A term that refers to daily activities such as bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, transferring out of a bed or chair, and walking. Ability to do ADLs is one of the criteria used in assessing for institutional and community-based care.

Alzheimer’s Disease: A progressive, neurological disease that affects brain functions including language, short-term memory, ability to reason, and the ability to care for oneself.

Anticipatory Grief: The deep emotional distress that occurs when someone has a chronic illness and death is expected. Anticipatory grief can be just as painful as the actual death of the person.

Aphasia: Aphasia is a language difficulty. As a rule, people who have aphasia know what they want to say, but have trouble communicating their thoughts and ideas. Individuals with aphasia may have trouble speaking, understanding the speech of others, reading and writing.

Bereavement: A period of sadness and/or loneliness following the loss of a family member or friend.

Case Manager: A professional who finds and coordinates social and medical services for older adults and their families who are living with an illness or disability.

Chronic Care: The ongoing provision of medical, health, social, psychological and spiritual care services that enable people living with serious and long-lasting conditions to optimize their functional abilities and well-being.

Cognitive Impairment: A deficiency in a person’s short or long-term memory, orientation as to person, place and time, deductive or inductive reasoning or judgment. Cognitive impairment usually related to an illness or injury such as Alzheimer’s Disease, stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s Disease, Lewy Body Dementia and others.

Community Care Access Centre (CCAC): CCACs are the starting point when looking for in-home health care or when living at home is no longer an option. CCACs are funded by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to provide a limited amount of home care service at no cost to clients and their families.

Dementia: The medical term for a group of symptoms that describe a loss of intellectual ability, including loss of vocabulary, abstract thinking, judgment, memory, and physical coordination.

Delirium: Is a reversible, acute condition where there are delusions, illusions, sleep disturbances, disorientation to time, place or person and memory impairment. Delirium is different from dementia in that it is a temporary state lasting a short time, whereas dementia is often permanent.

Depression: A reversible psychological state characterized by an inability to concentrate, difficulty sleeping, feelings of hopelessness, fatigue, the “blues” and guilt.

Discharge Planner: A nurse or social worker who assists patients and families transitioning from the hospital to home, hospital to long-term care facility or hospital to any other type of setting. Services of a discharge planner include assistance with the coordination of home care services, rehabilitation and others.

Elder Abuse: As defined by the World Health Organization, elder abuse is “any action or inaction, by a person in a position of trust which causes harm to an older person” (WHO, 2002). Forms of abuse include physical, emotional, financial, and sexual harm. Neglect is another form of abuse.

Healthy Aging: As defined by the World Health Organization, healthy aging is “the process of optimizing opportunities for health participation and security in order to enhance quality of life” (WHO, 2002).

Home Care: A range of supportive services in the home, from intensive medical support to assistance with activities of daily living to housekeeping. Home care can include nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, physical therapists and other rehabilitation services.

Hospice: Hospice services involve palliative rather than curative treatments that aim to comfort the person who is dying and their family. It involves professional medical care, advanced pain and symptom relief, and emotional, spiritual and practical support based on the patient’s wishes and family’s needs. The term hospice is often used to refer to a home-like place where people go in the last few weeks of life.

Long-Term Care: Long-term care includes a range of medical and support services that can be provided at home and in residential facilities including seniors’ apartments and long-term care facilities.
Long-Term Care Facility: A facility that is licensed, by the province of Ontario, and is otherwise known as a nursing home. Long-term care facilities are not-for-profit and applications are made through the Community Care Access Centre.

Occupational Therapist: A rehabilitation professional who assists individuals to learn skills and techniques needed to perform activities of daily living.

Palliative Care: The term palliative care is often used interchangeably with hospice care. Both terms refer to a compassionate approach that includes medical, emotional, spiritual, and social care that aims to improve the quality of life of patients and their families who are facing death. The difference is that palliative care is the approach and hospice is a place where palliative care is delivered. Palliative care can also be delivered in the person’s own home, a hospital palliative care unit, or long-term care facility.

Personal Support Worker (PSW): A personal support worker provides a range of health care services in a variety of settings. The range of services depends on the individual needs of each person they support, but generally include recreation and social activities, meal preparation, house cleaning, shopping, dressing, personal hygiene, mobility and other routine activities of daily living in accordance with the Regulated Health Professions Act.

Physical Therapist: A rehabilitation specialist who assists individuals in maximizing mobility and restoring strength and body movement.

Power of Attorney: A written document authorizing someone to act as agent on behalf of another person, to the extent indicated in the document. There are two kinds of power of attorney: power of attorney for personal care (POAPC) and power of attorney for property (POAP).

Respite: A break, a sense of relief that contributes to an overall sense of well-being.

Respite Care: Services that provide a break, a temporary relief for caregivers. These can be delivered in the home or in a short-stay facility. Respite Care enables caregivers to achieve respite.

Retirement Home: Is a place of residence where older adults can live independently, with minimal assistance. There are often recreational activities, common areas and other amenities. Retirement homes are for-profit operations.

Seniors Apartment: Senior apartments are age restricted multi-unit housing with self-contained units for older adults who are able to care for themselves. Some seniors apartment buildings offer community-based services such as meal preparation, housekeeping and personal care. Seniors apartment buildings are not-for-profit and applications are made through the municipality.

Wellness: A dimension of health that goes beyond the absence of illness, disease and/or disability. It includes social, emotional and spiritual aspects of health that are central to a person’s quality of life, such as vitality and energy, having a sense of purpose in life, good social relationships, the ability to do the things one enjoys, experiencing a connection with community and feeling a sense of control over one’s life.