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Glossary

Arrhythmia The heart beats when an electrical signal travels from the sinoatrial node—the heart’s natural pacemaker— to the heart. Arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, results when these electrical impulses are disrupted. Arrhythmia can be a minor problem, such as a short pause or premature heart beat that has no affect on a person’s overall heart rate. However, an arrhythmia that lasts for a long time can cause the heart to beat too slowly or too quickly. A normal heart beats 60 to 100 times per minute. Tachycardia occurs when the heart beats more than 100 times per minute, and bradycardia means the heart rate is less than 60 beats per minute.


Alzheimer’s care A person with Alzheimer’s disease needs special care. This plan includes special nurses and staff who are knowledgeable about the disease, security measures that promote independence and freedom and prevent wandering, support and guidance for the family, and a friendly atmosphere to reduce confusion and frustration for the patient.


Assisted living facility (ALF) Assisted living facilities are residences that are ideal for individuals who are able to live independently but may need help with some daily activities. Residents often reside in their own apartments and will have access to facility-provided meals, recreational activities, and light housekeeping services.


Advanced macular degeneration (AMD) AMD is a common source of vision loss among people older than age 60. Although AMD rarely results in blindness, people with AMD have difficulty driving, reading and performing other tasks because their vision becomes blurred.


Aegis Rehab Outcomes Aegis Rehab Outcomes is an outcomes measurement tool that quantitatively measures patients’ recovery progress.


Bedsore A pressure ulcer (also known as a bedsore or pressure sore) occurs when constant pressure prevents oxygen and other nutrients from reaching tissue under the skin. Elderly people, who are less active and are more likely to have fragile skin and poor circulation, are at high risk for pressure ulcers.


Bradycardia (low heart rate) A low heart rate, also known as bradycardia, is a form of arrhythmia. A person with a low heart rate may experience fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, and/or fainting or near-fainting spells.


Cardiac care Cardiac care can help someone recovering from a heart attack or bypass surgery or experiencing abnormal heart rhythms or high cholesterol. Specialized cardiac care can reduce the risk of subsequent heart attacks and death from other causes.


Cataracts Cataracts are cloudy areas in the eye’s lens, which is normally transparent. As this cloudiness thickens, it blocks light rays from passing through the lens and focusing on the retina, the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. In the earliest stages, cataracts may not significantly disturb vision, but as the lens continues to change, symptoms as appear. A doctor can remove cataracts in a routine procedure.


Dehydration Fluids are especially important for older people because they help medicines work properly, keep skin moist, and prevent constipation. A person becomes dehydrated when the body loses water faster than it is replenished. The body tends to retain less water and lose some of its ability to regulate water balance as it ages, making the elderly more susceptible to dehydration.


Dialysis support Dialysis is a means of filtering a person’s blood when the kidneys are not able to.


Diabetic care Diabetic care helps those with diabetes learn how to manage the disease and keep control of their lives.


Direct placement staffing Direct placement is job placement into a permanent position within a company.


Discharge planning Discharge planning begins on admission and is a collaborative process between the care team and the patient. Discharge planning involves assisting the patient and his or her family acquire the resources needed to be home safely such as medical care, therapy, home health, equipment and supplies, or making contact with community agencies that can provide any additional support, as well as a thorough evaluation of the home environment for safety concerns.


Dementia Care See Alzheimer’s care


Freedom Through Functionality (FTF) Freedom Through Functionality is a machine-based strength-building program for the elderly. The program was developed in partnership with Nautilus®, one of the foremost leaders in fitness equipment. FTF has many benefits, including improved quality of life, increased muscle strength, enhanced joint flexibility and reduced number of falls.


Geriatric Enhanced Modalities (GEM) Geriatric Enhanced Modalities is a therapy program designed to treat joint pain, swelling and circulatory problems in seniors.


Glaucoma Glaucoma is a disease that causes fluid to accumulate in the eye, increasing the pressure inside. Glaucoma can be treated in a variety of ways, and early treatment can keep the pressure in the eye under control to help reduce vision loss. Eventually, glaucoma can damage the eye’s optic nerve, which carries information from the eye to the brain, resulting in blindness.


Heart murmur Heart murmurs are quite common in the elderly. As the body ages, muscle cells in the heart gradually degenerate and the valves, which control the pattern of blood flow, gradually thicken. Erratic blood flow patterns cause vibrations, heard as roaring or rasping sounds called heart murmurs. A person with a heart murmur may not necessarily have heart disease, and heart disease does not necessarily cause a heart murmur.


Home Health Home health is medical care or rehabilitation therapy provided at the patient’s home, rather than in a hospital or skilled nursing facility.


Hospice care Hospice is a program designed to give supportive care and services in the final phase of a terminal illness. Hospice focuses on comfort and quality of life rather than cure, and provides emotional, spiritual and bereavement support to the terminally ill patient and their family.


High blood pressure Many factors can help cause high blood pressure, including narrowing of the arteries, a high volume of blood or an irregular heart rhythm. High blood pressure makes the heart work harder to pump blood through the body. An overworked heart and arteries are more susceptible to disease, and people with high blood pressure have an increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, eye damage and congestive heart failure. There is no cure for high blood pressure, but the patient can control it with proper medication, a healthy diet, and moderate exercise.


Infusion (IV) therapy IV therapy is an intravenous means of administering drugs or nutrients that cannot be taken by mouth.


Joint replacement therapy Joint replacement therapy is a program that includes pre-operative education, rehabilitative nursing services, pain management, physical and occupational therapy and therapeutic recreation programs.


Low heart rate (bradycardia) A low heart rate, also known as bradycardia, is a form of arrhythmia. A person with a low heart rate may experience fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, and/or fainting or near-fainting spells.


Long-term care insurance Another way to help defray nursing home expenses is to purchase private long-term care insurance. Private long-term care insurance includes retiree and government-funded insurance, such as Medigap. Other types of insurance help pay for 24-hour care. The benefits and costs of these plans vary.


Medicare This federal insurance program may cover some nursing home expenses for skilled nursing care or rehabilitation services. To obtain these funds, the patient must have a Medicare card and must receive services from a Medicare-certified nursing home after a hospital stay of three or more days.


Medicaid If the patient or resident cannot afford any other financial option, he or she may be able to apply for Medicaid to pay for nursing home care. Eligibility requirements vary from state to state, but this is an option for eligible low-income patients.


Occupational Therapy Occupational therapy can help people who are disabled to re-learn essential life functions like eating, bathing and dressing, as well as ordinary activities such as cooking, doing laundry and playing games.


Outpatient Therapy Outpatient therapy is therapy that fits the needs of each individual patient so they receive the therapy regimen that is best for them while setting their own schedule and maintaining their customary daily activities. Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy can all be offered on an outpatient basis.


Pressure ulcer A pressure ulcer (also known as a bedsore or pressure sore) occurs when constant pressure prevents oxygen and other nutrients from reaching tissue under the skin. Elderly people, who are less active and are more likely to have fragile skin and poor circulation, are at high risk for pressure ulcers.


Presbycusis Presbycusis is the most common hearing problem in older people. It erodes their ability to distinguish the higher-pitch sounds common in everyday speech. In most cases, it’s caused by age-related changes in the inner ear, but the disease also can result from changes in the middle ear or from complex changes along the nerve pathways leading to the brain. Presbycusis most often occurs in both ears, causing gradual hearing loss, and many people who have presbycusis may not realize that their hearing is declining.


Parkinson’s disease care Parkinson's disease is a complex neurological disease that varies greatly among affected individuals. Due to its degenerative nature, some individuals need the assistance of a long-term care facility to help them with their activities of daily living.


Pain management Pain management is the process of providing medical care that alleviates or reduces pain. This is extremely important in healthcare because patients who are in severe pain often become agitated or depressed and have poorer treatment outcomes.


Physical therapy Physical therapy can restore muscle strength and improve coordination, and can even help control or alleviate acute and chronic pain.


Plan of care The healthcare team will develop a personalized care plan that fits the resident’s specific needs. This may include rehabilitative care, medical care, social support, dietary planning, personal care and Alzheimer’s care.


Per Diem staffing Per Diem job placement fulfills the short-term needs of a company, such as coverage for sick days, holidays, evenings, weekend shifts, scheduled leaves of absence and peak census times


Restorative Care Restorative care is a plan of care that reflects the patient’s goals and is designed to improve wellness and function. Nurses work with the patient to identify activities that negatively affect his or her ability to engage in self-care or increase risk of injury.


Respite care Respite is a short-term arrangement that affords a caregiver some time off to refresh and relax.


Respiratory therapy With the help of breathing aids, such as a ventilator, people control or reduce symptoms or complications that affect the lungs.


Respiratory care These are services that help those with breathing impairments to control or lessen their symptoms or complications. Services include tracheostomy care, ventilator support and respiratory therapy.


Resident centered care Resident centered care is an innovative quality-of-life approach to caregiving—combining the best of the clinical model of skilled nursing care with a flexible, innovative social model that allows residents to enjoy more independence, privacy and choices.


Skilled nursing facility (SNF) At skilled nursing facilities, residents can receive long-term or short-term care, including general nursing care and rehabilitation therapy. Residents at SNFs generally need care that cannot be provided at home but do not need to be in a hospital.


Stroke (CVA) care Cerebrovascular accident (CVA), or stroke, is the sudden death of brain cells due to a lack of oxygen when the blood flow to the brain is impaired. Our stroke (also known as CVA) care program helps patients address their unique stroke effects with the goal of regaining independence and returning home.


Speech therapy Speech therapists can help people with certain health problems, such as a stroke, to re-train the muscles in the mouth and throat so they can speak and eat properly.


Temp to hire staffing Temp to hire positions allow both the employee and the company to “test” the job before making a permanent commitment.


Travel Staffing Travel staffing alleviates long-term staffing shortages by placing employees in a position for at 13 weeks or more.


Tinnitus Tinnitus is commonly known as a ringing, roaring or other sound in a person’s ears, and it is more common among older people. Tinnitus may be constant, intermittent and/or may stop altogether.


Unintended weight loss Over half of all nursing home residents experience unintended weight loss, which could result from a serious illness, a decline in memory or a behavioral issue. The following risk factors can increase the likelihood of unplanned weight loss—serious medical problems, decrease in appetite, decrease in mobility, depression, feeling of abandonment, history of weight loss, fever and pressure ulcers.


Wound management Wound management uses state-of-the-art expertise in the care and treatment of skin conditions, especially wounds of the elderly that can be especially painful and slow to heal.


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