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Glossary of Home Health Care Terms



Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) 
Examples of ADLs are:  Bathing, Dressing, Grooming, Eating, Bed mobility, Transferring, Toileting, and Walking.

Adult Day Care Center
A structured program that is usually offered on weekdays and may offer activities, meals, and health and rehabilitative services for the elderly in a supervised setting. Transportation is sometimes included in the fee.

Advanced Directives
These are ways for an individual to accept or refuse medical care. They can protect one’s rights even if one becomes mentally or physically unable to choose or communicate wishes. Living Wills and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care are two examples of advanced directives.

Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s Disease (“AD”) is the most common of the dementia disorders. It is a progressive, degenerative disease that attacks the brain and results in impaired memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms include:

As with all dementia, the rate of progression in Alzheimer’s residents varies from case to case.

Assisted Living (Non-Medical Senior Housing)
Assisted living is a general term for living arrangements in which some services are available to residents (meals, laundry, medication reminders), but residents still live independently within the assisted living complex. In most cases, assisted living residents pay a regular monthly rent, and then pay additional fees for the services that they require.

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Case Manager (Care Manager)
A social worker or healthcare professional who evaluates, plans, locates, coordinates and monitors services with an older person and the family.  A private geriatric care manager is a wonderful resource if you live a long distance away from your loved ones.

A care manager is defined by the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers as a “professional with a graduate degree in the field of human services or a substantial equivalent, certified or licensed at the independent practice level of his or her state or profession, who is trained and experienced in the assessment, coordination, monitoring, and direct delivery of services to the elderly and their families.”

These professionals have access to your loved one’s needs and home situation and they coordinate and monitor the necessary care and services. They work closely with you and other family members, making it possible to stay involved even if you live far away.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
The federal agency that runs the Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program, and works to make sure that the beneficiaries in these programs have access to high quality health care.

Chore/Housekeeping Services
These types of services include yard and house maintenance, home and appliance repair, housekeeping, meal preparation, shopping and transportation. No personal care is provided. This service is not covered by Medicare.

A companion provides assistance with shopping, meal preparation, escorting, companionship, and home upkeep. No personal care or nursing care is provided.

Person appointed by the court in a legal proceeding to act as the legal representative of a person who is mentally or physically incapable of managing his or her own affairs.

This is the portion of a medical expense that is the member’s financial responsibility.  HMOs generally have fixed low co-payments, usually around $5-$10.

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A common cost-sharing arrangement of traditional indemnity insurers under which a policyholder must pay a set amount toward covered services before the insurer is required to pay claims.  Typically, HMO members do not pay deductibles.

Dementia is characterized by the loss of intellectual functions such as thinking, remembering and reasoning to the extent that a person’s daily functioning is affected. It is not a disease in itself, but rather a group of symptoms which may accompany certain diseases or physical conditions. The cause and rate of progression of dementia vary. Some of the well-known diseases that produce it include:

Depression is a psychiatric disorder marked by sadness, inactivity, feelings of hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies. Many severely depressed individuals will have some mental deficits including poor concentration and attention. When dementia and depression are present together, intellectual deterioration may be exaggerated. Depression, whether present alone or in combination with dementia, can be reversed with proper treatment.

A state of temporary but acute mental confusion that comes on suddenly. Symptoms may include:

Delirium can occur in older persons who have short-term illnesses, heart or lung disease, long-term infections, poor nutrition, or hormone disorders. Alcohol or drugs (including medications) also may cause confusion.  Delirium may be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.

Durable Medical Equipment (DME)
Medical equipment that is ordered by a doctor for home use.  These items must be reusable, such as walkers, wheelchairs, or hospital beds.

Durable Power of Attorney
A power of attorney that stays in effect even after the person whom the document represents becomes incompetent.

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ElderChoices is Arkansas’ Medicaid home and community-based waiver program that is designed for an elderly population who, due to physical, cognitive or medical reasons, require a level of assistance that would have to be provided in a nursing facility, if it were not for the services offered through this program. The program is designed to assist elderly persons to reside in their own homes, or live with relatives or caregivers for as long as possible, if that is their choice.  Care IV Home Health is proud to participate in the provision of this service to qualified individuals. For more information on the Care IV Home Health Elder Choices Program, click here.

Estate Planning
Steps you can take while living to determine what happens to your property when you die.

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Similar to a conservatorship, yet severely restricts the legal rights of an elder based on a court’s finding of legal incompetence.

Health Care Power of Attorney
Allows a designated representative to decide on the health care of an incompetent person.

HMO (Health Maintenance Organization)
A health plan that both pays for and provides–or arranges to provide–access to comprehensive medical services. HMOs are reimbursed for services on a fixed monthly basis.

A term meaning one is normally unable to leave home or cannot leave home without considerable and taxing effort.  A person may leave home for medical treatment or short, infrequent absences for nonmedical reasons, such as a trip to the barber.

Home Health Agency
An organization that provides home care services, including skilled nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and care by home health aides.

Home Health Aide
A home health aide does not have a nursing license.  The aide provides services that support any services that the nurse provides.  These services include help with personal care, such as bathing, using the toilet, or dressing.  These types of services do not need the skills of a licensed nurse.  Medicare does not cover home health aide services unless one is also getting skilled care such as nursing care or other therapy.

Homemaker Services
Specific homemaker assistance is available for clients who have a high degree of independence, but need a second pair of hands to make chores around the house less of a chore. For detailed information see our full list of homemaker services offered in the home.

Medical and social programs for terminally ill patients and families either at home or in a facility.

Huntington’s Disease
Huntington’s Disease (“HD”) is an inherited, degenerative brain disease which affects the mind and body. It currently affects more than 25,000 Americans. HD usually begins during midlife, and is characterized by intellectual decline, and irregular and involuntary movements of the limbs or facial muscles. Other symptoms of HD include:

Although there is no treatment available to stop the progression of the disease, the movement disorders and psychiatric symptoms can be controlled by drugs.

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Can be mental or physical, temporary or permanent. A person can be incapacitated without being incompetent.

Requires a legal declaration of being found incapable of handling assets and exercising certain legal rights.

Intermittent Care
Skilled nursing and home health aide services furnished up to 28 hours per week any number of days per week so long as they are less than 8 hours per day.

For example:  If a patient receives one nursing visit every day along with a home health aide for 2 hours each day, this would equal 21 hours for the week.   (7 nursing visits + 14 home health aide hours = 21)

Live-in Service
When appropriate, a round-the-clock homemaker can be placed in the home for long or short- term care needs. This Live-in service is perfect when a primary caregiver needs to be away so peace of mind is created for all involved in care. For a complete explanation of Care IV Home Health live-in services, visit our Live-In services section for a thorough explanation.

Living Will
A document that makes known a person’s wishes regarding medical treatments at the end of life.

Long-Term Care Facilities
Institutions that provide nursing care to people who are unable to care for themselves and who may have health problems ranging from minimal to serious. These facilities are often used for short-term rehabilitation after hospitalization.

Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-Term Care Insurance is private insurance designed to cover long-term care costs. Plans vary widely, and it is wise to do some research before purchasing any long-term care policy. Generally, only relatively healthy people may purchase long-term care insurance.

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Managed Care
A method of delivering and paying for health care through a system of networks of providers.  Managed care seeks to ensure the quality and contain the cost of comprehensive medical care.  Managed care plans include HMOs, preferred provider organizations, point of service plans, and similar coordinated care networks.

Medicaid/Medical Assistance
A joint Federal and State program that helps with medical costs for some people with low incomes.  Programs vary from state to state, but most health care costs are covered if one qualifies for both Medicare and Medicaid.

Federal program providing health care coverage/insurance for people over 65 years of age, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (ERSD) (permanent kidney failure that must be treated with dialysis or a transplant). Part A covers inpatient care, skilled nursing facility, hospice and short-term health care. Part B covers doctors’ services, outpatient hospital care, and durable medical equipment. It does not provide for long-term care of the elderly except under limited conditions.

Medically Necessary
Services or supplies that:

Medical Social Services
Help with social and emotional concerns one may have related to one’s illness.  This might include counseling or help in finding community resources

Medicare Supplemental Insurance
This is private insurance (often called Medigap) that pays Medicare’s deductibles and co-insurances, and may cover services not covered by Medicare. Most Medigap plans will help pay for skilled nursing care, but only when that care is covered by Medicare.

Medigap Policies
A Medigap policy is the most common way that a health insurance policy helps one pay for some nursing home costs. A Medigap policy pays for the ‘gaps,’ or co-insurance, left by Medicare such as the Co-Pay owed for days 21 through 100 of a Medicare Benefit period. Premium payments for new Medigap policies usually range from approximately $50.00 to $150.00 per month.

Multi-Infarct Dementia
Multi-Infarct Dementia, or vascular dementia, is a deterioration of mental capabilities caused by multiple strokes (infarcts) of the brain. These strokes may damage areas of the brain responsible for a specific function and may produce generalized symptoms of dementia.

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Nursing Home
A nursing home is a residence that provides room, meals, recreational activities, help with daily living, and protective supervision to residents. Generally, nursing home residents have physical or mental impairments which keep them from living independently. Nursing homes are certified to provide different levels of care, from custodial to skilled nursing (services that can only be administered by a trained professional).

Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapy helps one to perform daily activities independently. An occupational therapy patient might learn new ways to eat, put on clothes, comb one’s hair, and new ways to do other usual daily activities.

Open Enrollment Period
A one-month period during which employees can enroll in or switch health plans.

An option available in some types of managed care networks, such as point-of-service plans, in which members can seek treatment from providers outside the network and pay more to do so.

Out-of-Pocket Costs
Costs for medical services not covered by an insurer or an HMO.  Unlike persons with conventional insurance, HMO members incur minimal out-of-pocket costs.

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A trained aide who assists a professional person. In Arkansas this is a non-licensed caregiver.

Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s Disease (“PD”) is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system which affects more than one million Americans. Individuals with PD lack a substance called dopamine, which is important in the central nervous system’s control of muscle activity. PD is often characterized by:

Late in the course of the disease, some individuals develop dementia and eventually Alzheimer’s disease. Medications such as levodopa, which prevents degeneration of dopamine, are used to improve diminished motor symptoms in PD patients but do not correct the mental changes that it causes.

Personal Care
Personal care aides help with dressing, bathing and other more personal care needs.  Limited range of motion or difficulties maintaining balance can make essential activities of daily living more difficult or even dangerous. For detailed information see our full list of personal care services offered in the home.

Personal Emergency Response Systems
Allows for 24-hour monitoring and response to medical or other emergencies.

Primary Care Physician (PCP)
Medicaid services require a referral from the primarcy care physician. the patient has to be a patient of that physician in order to receive Medicaid services.
Private Duty
Services performed by an RN or an LPN under the plan and direction of a physician
Private Duty Nurses
Patients with medical needs may need an RN or an LPN who has specialized training to handle medical or therapeutic care. Some examples are patients who need a skilled assessment, patients on ventilators, those diagnosed with cerebal palsy, or those with trach and g-button feeds, or even patients on medications requiring a nursing evaluation for administration of dosage. Wound care, IV therapy, injections, dressing changes, ostomy care, tube feedings, and tracheostomy care are also provided. Whatever the nursing need, Care IV has experience and staff available to assist. For a full listing of those specialties covered by Care IV Home Health private duty nursing see our expanded private duty nursing listing.

Private Pay
Method of payment under which providers are paid for each service performed.

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Respiratory Therapy
Respiratory therapy consists of exercises and/or treatments that are designed to help patients regain lung function.

SNF: SNF stands for “skilled nursing facility.”

Speech Therapy: Speech therapy involves the treatment of speech or communication disorders. The approach used depends on the disorder. Physical exercises designed to improve muscle strength and speech practice to improve clarity are two examples of speech therapy techniques.

Subacute Care
Subacute suggests a condition that is neither acute (characterized by a very sudden change) nor chronic (a condition characterized as one that lasts three months or more.) Subacute care is care that is necessitated by conditions that are
not severe enough to be acute, and are not categorized as chronic.

Skilled Nursing
There are times when a nurse is need to help with medications, wound care or IV therapy, to name just a few instances. Care IV Home Health can provide a full range of skilled nursing services in the home. For detailed information see our full list of in-home skilled nursing specialties.

Therapy Services
Physical, occupational, and speech therapists are licensed and available through our Medicare certified offices if the situation warrants Medicare coverage, or we can arrange for private duty services as needed. Visit our Care IV Home Health Therapy Services page for more information.

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Call Care IV Home Health or email Care IV Home Health for fast and friendly attention or for more information on how we can best meet home care and home health needs in Arkansas.

Staff available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to serve needs as they arise.

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