Home Health Definitions

file_268757_0_400x265At Always Best Care Senior Services, we believe that an educated, informed consumer makes the best decisions. Our objective is to help you make informed decisions about important health care issues and how they affect your daily life. Because we respect your right to make those decisions, our emphasis is on providing a variety of resources from a wide spectrum of viewpoints, not on simply presenting our own opinions.

We have culled a variety of terms and phrases that are typically associated with skilled nursing services, and we are pleased to present definitions for each of these to you. If you have any questions about these definitions, or about the activities, issues or places they describe, please contact the local Always Best Care office nearest you.

Select from the list below to view the definition:

Acute Illness
A serious illness such as a heart attack or stroke that develops rapidly with pronounced symptoms. The illness can be of short duration such as influenza. Back to top

Adult Day Health Services
A program that provides medically necessary services in an ambulatory care setting to people who are nonresidents of the facility, and who, due to their physical and/or cognitive impairment, require such services supportive to their community living that cannot be provided elsewhere. The facility must be licensed by the Department of Health and Senior Services and clients must meet eligibility criteria established by the department. Back to top

Care Plan
The detailed formulation of a program of action that addresses a consumer’s need. Back to top

Case Management
A term used to describe formal services planned by care professionals. Back to top

Charge Nurse
An RN or LPN who is responsible for the supervision of a unit within a nursing facility. The charge nurse schedules and supervises nursing staff and provides care to facility residents. Back to top

A disease that impairs the ability of the body to use sugar resulting in the loss of sugar through urine, and an increase of sugar levels in the blood. Back to top

Director of Nursing (DON)
A DON oversees all nursing staff in a home health care environment, and is responsible for formulating nursing policies and monitoring the quality of care delivered, as well as the home health care agency’s compliance with federal and state regulations pertaining to nursing care. Back to top

Home Health Care
Provision of medical and nursing services, occupational and rehabilitative therapies and other home health care services in the individual’s home by a licensed provider. Back to top

Level of Care
Refers to the outcome of an assessment designed to determine the most appropriate setting for the delivery of long-term care to an elderly person. Back to top

Licensed Practical Nurse
LPNs are trained to administer technical nursing procedures as well as provide a range of health care services, such as administration of medication and changing of dressings. One year of post high school education and passage of a state licensing exam is required. Back to top

Long-Term Care
Provision of services to people of any age who are afflicted with chronic health impairments. Back to top

Long-Term Care Insurance
Privately issued insurance policy that covers the cost of nursing home care, assisted living, and home health care. Premiums are based on age, health, length of deductible period, amount paid, and duration of benefits. Currently pays only two percent of national nursing home costs. Back to top

Managed Care
There is currently no standard definition of managed care, but it can best be described as a combination of insurance and a health care delivery system. The basic goal of managed care is to coordinate all health care services received to maximize benefits and minimize costs. Managed care plans use their own network of health care providers and a system of prior approval from a primary care doctor to achieve this goal. Providers include: specialists, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, therapists, and home health care agencies. Back to top

Nurse Assistant
A nurse assistant provides the most personal care to residents, including bathing, dressing, and toileting. Must be trained, tested, and certified to provide care in nursing facilities that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Nurse assistants work under the supervision of a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse. Back to top

Nursing Home
Facility licensed by the state that provides 24-hour nursing care, room and board, and activities for convalescent residents and those with chronic and/or long-term care illnesses. One step below hospital acute care. Regular medical supervision and rehabilitation therapy are mandated to be available, and nursing homes are eligible to participate in the Medicaid program. May be referred to as nursing facility or convalescent home. See also Skilled Nursing Facility. Click here to learn more. Back to top

Occupational Therapy
Process to help individuals relearn activities of daily living, generally administered by a licensed therapist. Back to top

Physical Therapy
Process that includes individualized programs of exercise to improve physical mobility, often administered following a stroke, fall, or accident. Physical therapists plan and administer prescribed physical therapy treatment programs for residents to help restore their function and strength. Back to top

Primary Care Physician (PCP)
The doctor who is consulted first when a health problem occurs and on whom the patient relies for advice, referrals, and ongoing care. Back to top

Registered Nurse
Graduate-trained nurse who has passed a state board examination and is licensed by a state agency to practice nursing. The RN plans for patient care by assessing patient needs, developing and monitoring care plans in conjunction with physicians, patients and patients’ families, as well as executing highly technical, skilled nursing treatments. A minimum of two years of college is required in addition to passage of the state exams. Back to top

Therapeutic care for people requiring intensive physical, occupational or speech therapy. Back to top

Senior Citizen Policies
Insurance policies for those over the age of 65. In many cases these policies are in combination with coverage provided by the government under the Medicare program. Back to top

A term used to refer to the mental and physical deterioration of old age. Not a medical term. Back to top

Visiting Nurse
A trained professional nurse who visits patients in their homes to monitor vital signs, the physical condition, and carry out a physician’s treatment plan. Back to top