III Glossary

Ambulating: Walking.

Angina: Sudden chest pain beneath the sternum (breastbone) associated with a heart attack (myocardial infarction), often radiating down the left arm in male patients.

Assistive devices: Devices such as gait belts and walkers that are used when moving a patient.

Blood-borne pathogens: Pathogenic microorganisms present in blood and body fluids that can cause disease such as hepatitis B (HBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Cardiac arrhythmias: Irregularities in a person’s heart rate and/or rhythm.

Cerebrovascular attack (CVA): The medical term for what is commonly referred to as a “stroke,” caused by a lack of blood flow and oxygen to the brain.

FAST: An acronym used to remember the early signs of a stroke: Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Slurred speech, and Time (meaning the quicker the response, the better the outcome).

Heimlich maneuver: A procedure used for someone who is choking that uses abdominal thrusts to clear the airway so they can breathe.

Incontinence: A lack of voluntary control over urination or defecation.

Myocardial infarction (MI): The medical term for what is commonly referred to as a “heart attack,” caused by a lack of blood flow and oxygen to the heart.

Nonskid footwear: Shoes or socks with rubberized soles used to prevent falls.

PASS: An acronym for using a fire extinguisher that stands for the following:

  • P: Pull the pin on the fire extinguisher.
  • A: Aim the extinguisher nozzle at the base of the fire.
  • S: Squeeze or press the handle.
  • S: Sweep from side to side at the base of the flame until the fire appears to be out.

Personal protective equipment (PPE): Equipment used to prevent transmission of blood-borne pathogens and infection, including gloves, masks, goggles, gowns, and other types of protective equipment.

RACE: An acronym for responding to a fire that stands for the following:

  • R: Rescue anyone in immediate danger from the fire if it doesn’t endanger your life.
  • A: Activate the alarm by pulling the nearest fire alarm or calling 911.
  • C: Contain the fire by closing all doors and windows.
  • E: Extinguish the fire if it is small enough using a fire extinguisher and the PASS method. Evacuate patients and oneself if the fire cannot be extinguished.

Resident mentor: A resident who can answer questions and encourage interaction for a new resident recently admitted to a long-term care facility.

Seizure: A transient occurrence of signs and/or symptoms due to abnormal neuronal activity in the brain.

Sharps injury: A penetrating wound from a needle, scalpel, or other sharp object that may result in exposure to blood-borne pathogens.

Shortness of breath (SOB): Difficulty breathing or a feeling of not being able to catch one’s breath.

Skin breakdown: Damage to the skin due to common preventable causes like immobility and incontinence.

SPICES: An acronym that stands for observing the following aspects of well-being for older adults: Sleep, Problems eating, Incontinence, Confusion, Evidence of falls, and Skin breakdown.

Thrombolytic medication: Medication (such as tPA) used to dissolve clots in arteries.

Transient ischemic attack (TIA): A medical term for what is commonly referred to as a ministroke. A TIA is a temporary period of symptoms similar to those of a stroke that usually last only a few minutes and don’t cause permanent brain damage.

Work-related musculoskeletal symptoms (WRMS): Symptoms from musculoskeletal injuries experienced at work, such as lower back pain, that are attributed to manual handling of clients, heavy physical loads, frequent awkward positions, and repetitive movements.


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