Glossary



Accelerated death benefits

An offering of some life insurance policies that allows the policy holder to collect on a death benefit while still alive. Such payment usually is limited to situations in which the individual is terminally ill and requires long-term care services.

Accessibility

This is guaranteed under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires removal of barriers that would hinder a person with a disability from entering, functioning or working within a facility. Required restructuring of the facility cannot cause the employer undue hardship.

Activities of daily living (ADLs)

Basic personal activities that include bathing, eating, dressing, mobility, transferring from bed to chair, and using the toilet. ADLs are used to measure how dependent a person is on requiring assistance in performing any or all of these activities.

Acute care

Care that is generally provided for a short period of time to treat a certain illness or condition. This type of care can include short-term hospital stays, doctor's visits, surgery and X-rays.

Acute illness

An illness that typically is short-term and often comes on quickly.

Administration on Aging

The AOA is a federal advocate agency for older people and their concerns. An agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it works closely with its nationwide network of state and Area Agencies on Aging.

Admissions

Indicates the number of admissions during the calendar year into the various long-term care bed classifications and the places where patients were admitted from.

Adult care home

Also called “board and care home” or “group home.” Facilities that offer housing and personal care services for three to 16 residents. Services (such as meals, supervision and transportation) are usually provided by the owner or manager. May also be a single-family home (licensed as “adult family home” or “adult group home”).

Adult day care

A daytime community-based program for functionally impaired adults that provides a variety of health, social, and related support services in a protective setting.

Adult day healthcare

The provision of care and services in a residential health care facility or approved extension site, on an outpatient basis, under the medical direction of a physician. Services are in accord with a comprehensive assessment of care needs and individualized health care plan.

Advanced directives

A written statement of an individual's preferences and directions regarding healthcare. Advanced directives protect a person's rights even if he or she becomes mentally or physically unable to choose or communicate personal wishes.

Age-associated memory impairment

Mild memory loss that increases with age. It is normal and should not be confused with forms of dementia, which are progressive and affect every day living.

Alzheimer's disease

A progressive, irreversible disease characterized by degeneration of the brain cells and severe loss of memory. Ultimately, it will cause the individual to become dysfunctional and dependent upon others for basic living needs.

Ambulatory care

All types of healthcare services that are provided on an outpatient basis (as opposed to inpatient or home care services). While many inpatients may be ambulatory, or able to move around on their own, the term ambulatory care usually implies that the patient must travel to a location to receive services that do not require an overnight stay.

Ancillary costs

A charge for services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, diagnostic services, home health services, support diagnoses and treatment of a patient’s condition.

Aphasia

The loss of ability to express oneself and/or understand language.

Apraxia

The inability to carry out a complex or skilled movement due to deficiencies in cognition.

Area Agency on Aging (AAA)

A local (city or county) agency, funded under the federal Older Americans Act, that plans and coordinates various social and healthcare programs for individuals 60 years or older. The network of AAA offices comprises more than 600 approved agencies.

Assessment

Determination of a person's physical ability or mental capability, and the type and extent of services available and needed.

Assessment period

The look-back period that includes the day the MDS is completed. Most commonly, this is a seven-day period.

Assessment reference date (ARD)

The last day of the observation or look-back period facilities use when filling out the MDS. Several possible days can be chosen; the date that best reflects the treatment given to a resident should be used.

Assisted living

Facilities that provide private sleeping quarters and bathrooms, as well as various service options, such as meal preparation, laundry, medicine assistance and more. Personal care services are available on a 24-hour-a-day basis.

Assistive devices

Tools that enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential job functions, such as adapted computer keyboards, enhanced computer monitors and telephone headsets.

Assistive technology

Any technology or device that enables an individual to be more independent and/or enables an individual to accomplish a task. Examples of assistive technology include motorized wheelchairs, TTY communicators, print readers, computers and voice-activated devices.

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