Long Term Health Care Terminology

Long Term Health Care Terminology

Listing of phrases used in long term care and their meaning.
Activities of Daily Living (ADL):
ADLs are basic tasks essential for day-to-day functioning, such as bathing, dressing, grooming, eating and getting in and out of a bed or chair.
Adult Family Care Program:
A host family provides room and board, 24-hour supervision and assistance with daily activities.
Adult Day Health Programs:
These provide supervision, recreation and health care services to elders during the day so family caregivers can work or attend to other responsibilities.
Aging Services Access Points (ASAP):
ASAPs are community-based long-term care services funded by Mass Health or the Massachusetts Home Care Program.
Area Agencies on Aging (AAA):
AAAs provide funding for a range of long term care services without regard to income or assets.
Assisted Living Residence:
A housing option for older adults who need some assistance with daily activities but do not require 24 hour nursing care.
Assistive Equipment:
Technology that increases one’s ability to perform daily activities.
Congregate Housing:
Non-institutional group housing that integrates the shelter and service needs of the functionally impaired or socially isolated elder or disabled person who does not require constant supervision.
A person granted legal authority to manage another’s financial affairs. A conservator is appointed when an individual (the ward) is unable to make informed decisions; a conservator does not have custody of the ward.
Continuing Care Retirement Community:
A residential community for older adults that combines independent retirement living, assisted living and nursing facility care.
Geriatric Care Manager:
A professional who helps develop and implement long-term care plans that maximize independence.
Group Adult Foster Care:
A program administered by the Massachusetts Division of Medical Assistance that helps cover personal-care services and costs in assisted living residences or other settings.
An individual appointed by the probate court to manage the legal, financial and day-to-day affairs of an individual deemed unable to make these decisions. The guardian has legal custody of the ward.
Home Health Aides:
Aides who provide home-based assistance with daily activities.
Home Health Services:
Visiting nurses, licensed therapists and certified home health aides who provide home-based assistance with health and medical conditions.
Hospice Care:
Comprehensive care for terminally ill people that is funded through Medicare.
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living:
Tasks including meal preparation, housework, laundry, shopping, administration of medications, transportation, money management and phone calls.
Long-term Care:
Services provided to help individuals maximize physical, psychological and social well-being.
MassHealth (Medicaid):
A state and federally funded program providing health-care coverage for people with limited incomes or those who have spent down their resources.
A federally funded program providing health-care coverage for those over 65 or permanently disabled. Medicare A covers inpatient hospital services, skilled nursing facilities, home health services and hospice care. Medicare B helps pay for doctor services, outpatient hospital services, medical equipment and supplies, and other health services.
Private supplemental insurance to help cover Medicare deductibles and co-payments.
Nursing Facility:
A facility that provides 24-hour nursing care, rehabilitative services and assistance to the elderly, disabled and chronically ill, as well as to those who require a short period of recuperation, rehabilitation before returning home or both.
Ombudsman Programs:
State-funded programs in the Executive Office of Elder Affairs for assisted-living facilities and nursing homes, authorized to investigate and resolve complaints made by or on behalf of residents that may affect the health, safety, welfare or rights of such residents.
Personal Care Attendant (PCA):
Individuals who help adults with disabilities maintain an otherwise independent lifestyle by assisting with daily activities.
Personal Care Homemakers:
Trained individuals who provide home-based assistance with daily activities.
Residential Care Facility:
A facility licensed to provide room and board, supervision and, sometimes, social and other services for individuals who need assistance with daily activities but do not routinely require nursing or medical care.Also known as a rest home.
Respite Care:
Temporary relief services to caregivers of those requiring long-term care in the home. Respite care may be provided in the home or by short-term placement in a facility.
Skilled Nursing Facility:
A Medicare-certified nursing facility.
Social Day Care Programs:
Provide social activities for elders who require daytime supervision.
Visiting Nurse Association (VNA):
A certified home health care agency that provides nursing care, rehabilitation therapies and home health aide service.

Note: The definitions can be found in the “Guide to Long Term Care Alternatives in Massachusetts” (1998-1999) by Industrial Union/Massachusetts, Philippa A. Bovet, Women’s Education (Editor)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Long Term Care Glossary

Fact Sheet last updated on: 3/30/2023


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