I Glossary

Active listening: Listening while communicating verbally and nonverbally that we are interested in what the other person is saying and also verifying our understanding with the speaker.

Activities of daily living (ADLs): Daily basic tasks that are fundamental to everyday functioning (e.g., hygiene, elimination, dressing, eating, ambulating/moving).

Aggression: The act of attacking without provocation.

Aggressive communicators: Individuals who come across as advocating for their own rights when communicating despite possibly violating the rights of others.

Agitation: Behaviors that fall along a continuum ranging from verbal threats and motor restlessness to harmful aggressive and destructive behaviors.

Aphasia: A condition with difficulty processing what one is hearing or responding to questions due to dementia, brain injuries, or strokes.

Assertive communication: A way of conveying information that describes the facts and the sender’s feelings without disrespecting the receiver’s feelings.

Assertive communicators: Individuals who respect the rights of others while also standing up for their own ideas and rights when communicating.

Autonomy: Each individual’s right to self-determination and decision-making based on their unique values, beliefs, and preferences.

Belongingness: A human emotional need for interpersonal relationships, connectedness, and being part of a group.

Communication: A process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior.

Competitive listening: Listening that occurs when we are primarily focused on sharing our own point of view instead of listening to someone else.

Delusions: Unshakable beliefs in something that isn’t true or based on reality.

Diet and fluid orders: Orders regarding what the resident is permitted to eat and drink.

Documentation: A legal record of patient care completed in a paper chart or electronic health record (EHR).

Elimination needs: Assistance the resident requires for urinating and passing stool.

Hallucinations: A condition where a person senses things such as visions, sounds, or smells that seem real but are not.

Holistic care: Health care that addresses a patient’s physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: A theory stating that unless basic human needs within a hierarchy are met, humans cannot experience higher levels of psychological and self-fulfillment needs.

Military time: A standard for recording time that avoids confusion between daytime and nighttime hours because each hour of the day is represented by a number ranging from 00:00 to 24:59.

Minimum Data Set (MDS): A standardized assessment tool for all residents of long-term care facilities certified to receive reimbursement by Medicare or Medicaid.

Nonverbal communication: Communication that includes body language and facial expressions, tone of voice, and pace of the conversation.

Objective information: Anything that can be observed through sight, touch, hearing, or smell, referred to as “signs.” An example of objective information is the client’s temperature was 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

Older adults: Adults aged 65 years old or older.

Passive communicator: Individuals who put the rights of others before their own when communicating.

Passive listening: Listening that occurs when we are not interested in listening to the other person or we assume we correctly understand what the person is communicating without verifying their message.

Progressive relaxation: Stress management techniques that focus on reducing muscle tension and using mental imagery to induce calmness.

Relaxation breathing: A stress management technique focused on becoming aware of one’s breathing.

Reporting: Oral communication between care providers that follows a structured format and typically occurs at the start and end of every shift.

Signs: Objective information obtained through the senses of sight, hearing, smell, or touch.

Stress response: The body’s response to stress that can include irritability, sweaty palms, a racing heart, difficulty concentrating, and impaired sleep.

Subjective information: Information reported by clients or their family members referred to as “symptoms.” An example of subjective information is the resident stating, “I have a headache.”

Symptoms: Subjective information reported by clients or their family members. Symptoms are documented by using quotes around the exact words expressed by the client or their family member. For example, the client reported, “I have a headache.”

Therapeutic communication: A type of professional communication used with patients defined as the purposeful, interpersonal, information-transmitting process through words and behaviors based on both parties’ knowledge, attitudes, and skills that leads to patient understanding and participation.

Transfer status: Assistance the patient requires to be moved from one location to another, such as from the bed to a chair.

Validation therapy: A method of therapeutic communication used to connect with someone who has moderate to late-stage dementia and avoid agitation.


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Nursing Assistant Copyright © by Chippewa Valley Technical College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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