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Home Health Care Glossary

Common Definitions Used in the Home Health Care Industry

Our home health care glossary will help you understand some of the more common terms, services and procedures used by professionals in the home health care industry.


Adult Nursing

Care provided by registered or licensed practical nurses at home for adults and seniors dealing with chronic illness, injury, or disability.



Ability to walk from place to place independently with or without an assistive device.



Benefit Penalty

A method used by insurance companies to reduce payment on a claim when a patient or medical provider does not fulfill the rules of the health plan.





A family member or paid helper who regularly looks after a child or a sick, elderly, or disabled person.


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A chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning.


Diabetic Care

In-home care to help keep a patient’s diabetes under control and protect him/her from complications. Learn more


Discharge Planner

The worker who coordinates discharge planning and is in a position to evaluate which patients exceed their length of stay requirements.


Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare

A document that lets you name someone else to make decisions about your health care in case you are not able to make those decisions yourself.



Elder Abuse

Any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult (65 years or older, or anyone 18-64 who’s defined as a “dependent adult”).


End-of-Life Planning

Planning of care for all those with a terminal illness or terminal condition that has become advanced, progressive, and incurable (final hours or days of a patient’s life).



Fee Schedule

The fee deemed by a health care company as acceptable for a procedure or service in which the physician agrees to accept as payment in full.




The branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease in older adults and problems specific to aging.


Grievance Procedure

A procedure in which a member or healthcare provider is allowed to file a complaint with a health insurance company and seek a remedy.



Home Health Aide

A trained and certified health-care worker who provides assistance to a patient in the home with personal care and light household duties and who monitors the patient’s condition.


Home Health Care

A wide range of health care services that can be given in your home for an illness or injury.



Intermediate Care

Nursing care that is less intensive than skilled nursing care but may be performed in a skilled nursing or intermediate care facility.


IV Therapy

The infusion of liquid substances directly into a vein. Learn more







Living Will

A written statement detailing a person’s desires regarding their medical treatment in circumstances in which they are no longer able to express informed consent.




A health care program that assists low-income families or individuals in paying for long-term medical and custodial care costs.


Medical Social Services

A patient receives the assistance of someone who can serve as a bridge between the patient and medical staff while helping to meet all the patient’s varied and specific needs as they face a chronic or temporary illness. Learn more



The federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease.




A person who is unable to move or walk around (usually bedridden).


Nursing Home

A private institution providing residential accommodations with health care, especially for elderly people.



Occupational Therapy

A form of therapy for those recuperating from a physical or mental illness that encourages rehabilitation through the performance of activities required in daily life. Learn more


Out-of-Network Care

Healthcare rendered to a patient outside of an insurance company’s preferred provider network. In many cases, the insurance company will not pay for these services.



Parkinson’s Disease

A progressive disease of the nervous system marked by tremor, muscular rigidity, and slow, imprecise movement, chiefly affecting middle-aged and elderly people.


Physical Therapy

The treatment of disease, injury, or deformity by physical methods such as massage, heat treatment, and exercise rather than by drugs or surgery. Learn more


Plan of Care

A document developed after the patient assessment that identifies the nursing diagnoses to be addressed in the hospital or clinic.



Quality Assurance (QA)

The regular assessment of medical and nursing activities that evaluate the quality of care.




The directing of a patient to a medical specialist by a primary care physician.


Rehabilitative Services

Special health care services that help a person regain physical, mental, and/or cognitive abilities that have been lost or impaired as a result of disease, injury, or treatment.


Respiratory Therapy

Health care that focuses on helping people to regain or maintain lung function through the use of exercises and treatments.



Skilled Nursing

Refers to a patient’s need of care or treatment that can only be done by licensed nurses.


Speech Therapy

Training to help people with speech and language problems to speak more clearly. Learn more



Tube Feeding

A means of providing nutrition via a feeding tube inserted into the gastrointestinal tract; it may be done to maintain nutritional status over a period of time or as a treatment for malnutrition (this is typically needed by patients who cannot obtain nutrition by mouth, are unable to swallow safely, or need nutritional supplementation).




This happens when an individual has some form of health insurance that does not offer complete financial protection.


Urgent Care

A category of walk-in clinic focused on the delivery of ambulatory care in a dedicated medical facility outside of a traditional emergency room.




An appliance for artificial respiration; a respirator.



Worker’s Compensation

A form of insurance providing wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of employment in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of the employee’s right to sue their employer for the tort of negligence.


Wound Care

Specific types of treatment that enhance the healing of skin abrasions, blisters, cracks, craters, infections, lacerations, necrosis, and/or ulcers. Learn more