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Nursing Home Medical Dictionary

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The injury attorneys at Phoenix Accident and Injury Law Firm near you have significant experience in helping clients who have been a nursing home abuse victim.  Our offices are conveniently located in nearby Chandler, Peoria, and North Phoenix, and we can meet in-person at our nearby offices, over the phone, or video call.  You can contact us for a free consultation, or read on to find out more. 

By the way, we will also help with other problems that have cost you sleep, like finding a nearby doctor who can help you or recommending you to temporary or long-term care options. You and your family’s’ safety and health are our top concern, and even the best legal team isn’t good enough if your quality of life isn’t sustainable while justice and compensation are on the way. The whole point of legal action is to regain quality of life, so we help you long-term as attorneys and short-term as your go-to people. Our familiarity with the local Phoenix courts makes us confident that we can help you get the best settlement possible.

To figure out how the nursing home you have chosen for your family is rated and to see if the home has any prior violations, check out our nursing home index. We’ve compiled all of the nursing homes in Arizona as well as their health code reports.

Additionally, take a look at our Nursing Home Glossary– an index of important words you need to know in a nursing home abuse case and their definitions.

If you are unsure whether or not you can afford an attorney, don’t worry. We only get paid when you settle. Check out our Attorney Fees Calculator to find out more.

Nursing Home Medical Dictionary

  • Nursing Home Abuse: Nursing home abuse is any type of harm that comes to elderly residents in long-term care facilities, including physical or emotional injuries, sexual assault, financial exploitation, or other types of abuse.
  • Abuse: Arizona state law considers abuse as the intentional physical harm, injuries caused by negligence, unjustified confinement, sexual abuse, and/or sexual assault.
  • Physical Abuse: Physical abuse is classified by injuries such as bruising, cuts, and broken bones. Slapping, pushing, and hitting all constitute physical abuse. The improper use of physical or medicinal restraints also falls into the category of physical abuse.
  • Elder Sexual Abuse: Elder sexual abuse is defined as any act against an elder that is unwanted and sexual in origin. It usually involves those over 60 years of age. Elder sexual abuse includes any sexual contact with an elder who, because of mental illness or dementia, cannot communicate their disapproval of the behavior against them or cannot communicate consent for the activity.
  • Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse against the elderly can be verbal or nonverba. Both can be devastating and include the following behaviors: blaming the victim, scapegoating the victim, engaging in demeaning behavior toward the elder, humiliating the victim, ridiculing the victim, ignoring the needs of the elderly person, terrorizing the elderly person, behaving menacingly toward the elder, intimidating the elder, isolating the elder from friends, family or social occasions, yelling at the victim, using threatening behavior against the elder.
  • Elder Neglect: Elder neglect is defined as any failure by a caregiver, whether it is a hired staff or a family member, to fulfill the obligations related to the older person’s care. Forms of neglect typically include any denial of needs related to shelter, food, clothing, hygiene and medical care.
  • 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.
  • Elder Malnutrition: Malnutrition is often due to one or more of the following factors: inadequate food intake; food choices that lead to dietary deficiencies; and illness that causes increased nutrient requirements, increased nutrient loss, poor nutrient absorption, or a combination of these factors.
  • Elderly Self-Neglect: Inability, due to physical or mental impairment or diminished capacity, to perform essential self-care.
  • Bed Sores: Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, can happen when a person is bedridden or otherwise immobile, unconscious, or unable to sense pain. Bedsores are ulcers that happen on areas of the skin that are under pressure from lying in bed, sitting in a wheelchair, or wearing a cast for a prolonged time. Bedsores are also called pressure injuries, pressure sores, pressure ulcers, or decubitus ulcers.  Bedsores can be a serious problem among frail older adults. They can be related to the quality of care the person receives.
  • Memory Care Units: Memory Care Units are a form of assisted living facility. The main difference between Memory Care Units and traditional assisted living facilities is that Memory Care Units are specifically for patients who are dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
  • Bed Transfer Injuries: Elders sustain injuries when they fall attempting to move from one place to another. This includes moving to a chair, wheelchair, bed, toilet or shower chair. It also commonly occurs when, staff need to help residents sit up in bed, move to other areas of a nursing home like the bathroom, get in and out of a bathtub or shower, move back and forth during physical therapy or other medical treatments and move from a bed to a wheelchair for any of the above purposes.
  • Group Home Abuse: Group homes, also known as adult foster care or personal care homes, are an alternative to larger assisted care facilities for older adults or people with developmental disabilities. In these homes, elders could experience different types of abuse like, physical, sexual, financial, or emotional abuse.
  • Residential Treatment Center Abuse: A residential treatment center (RTC), sometimes called a rehab centre, is a live-in health care facility providing therapy for substance abuse, mental illness, or other behavioral problems.
  • Adult Day Care Abuse: Adult day care is a planned program of activities in a professional care setting designed for older adults who require supervised care during the day, or those who are isolated and lonely. Adult day care centers enable seniors to socialize and enjoy planned activities in a group setting, while still receiving needed health services. However, elders experience different types of abuse like, physical, sexual, financial, or emotional abuse while at these facilities.
  • Improper Wound Care: If a resident is suffering from a bedsore or pressure ulcer nursing home staff should follow protocol for elder wound care. The patient should be temporarily kept in positions that allow for the least amount of pressure upon the elder wound. Improper wound care occurs when the staff have not followed the protocol.
  • Nursing Home Abandonment: For patient abandonment to occur, the nurse must: a) have first accepted the patient assignment, thus establishing a nurse-patient relationship, and then b) severed that nurse-patient relationship without giving reasonable notice to the appropriate person (e.g., supervisor, patient) so that arrangements can be made for continuation of nursing care by others.
  • Nursing Home Understaffing: Inadequate nursing home staffing causes tragedies, including medical errors, deadly falls and bed sores. A caregiver shortage forces staff to prioritize certain duties over others. This often means overlooking responsibilities like preventing infection, controlling accident hazards, maintaining sanitary conditions and improving resident well-being.
  • Residential Care Facility Abuse: Board and care homes, also called residential care facilities or group homes, are small private facilities, usually with 20 or fewer residents. Rooms may be private or shared. Residents receive personal care and meals and have staff available around the clock. Nursing and medical care usually are not provided on site. Abuse as the intentional physical harm, injuries caused by negligence, unjustified confinement, sexual abuse, and/or sexual assault takes place.
  • Restraint Injuries: Restraints are any type of item that is used to restrain a patient and keep him or her from moving too much, getting agitated, or hurting themselves. In nursing homes, restraints can be both physical and chemical in nature. Injuries or other problems can occur in the forms of strangulation and restricted breathing, bed sores/pressure sores, infections, cuts and bruising, falls, loss of strength and mobility, reduced bone mass, stiffness, incontinence, constipation, frustration, loss of dignity, withdrawal and depression, fear and or, agitation.
  • Slip and Fall Accidents: Slip and falls may result from a wet floor, cracks on the floor, inadequate lighting, improper bed height, improperly maintained wheelchairs, broken steps, or poorly maintained railings.
  • Wandering or Elopement: Elopement, also known as wandering, in the nursing home setting refers to the patient leaving a facility without notice.
  • C-diff infection: Clostridioides difficile (also known as C. diff) is a bacterium that causes diarrhea and colitis (an inflammation of the colon).
  • Low air loss mattress: A low air loss mattress has tiny laser made air holes in its top surface which continually blow out air causing the patient to float. This reduces skin interface pressure at the mattress surface. As a result, moisture is moved away and the patient stays dry.
  • Wound vac: Vacuum-assisted closure of a wound is a type of therapy to help wounds heal. It’s also known as wound VAC. During the treatment, a device decreases air pressure on the wound. This can help the wound heal more quickly.
  • Albumin levels: Low albumin levels indicates malnutrition. It can also mean that a resident has liver disease or an inflammatory disease. Higher albumin levels may be caused by acute infections, burns, and stress from surgery or a heart attack.
  • Mechanical soft diet: This diet is designed for people who have trouble chewing and swallowing. Chopped, ground and pureed foods are included in this diet, as well as foods that readily break apart without a knife.
  • Scoop mattress cover: A scoop mattress cover is a convenient way to protect against bed falls. A scoop mattress cover can be used with or without bolsters and assists low risk people by giving them a barrier to prevent them from rolling out of bed.
  • Slide board transfer: A sliding board is a piece of equipment that can be used if a person is not able to use their legs to complete a transfer between surfaces or if a standing transfer is not safe to perform. The board is used to make a solid “bridge” between the two surfaces that a person can slide across to transfer between them.
  • Medical director: In a healthcare facility, the medical director is responsible for medical supervision and overall regulation of all medical facets that may affect the institutional healthcare system.
  • 24 hour sheets: Twenty-four hour reports are filled out by nurses daily to monitor nursing home (NH) residents and document any changes in residents’ status.
  • Nursing home administrator: Nursing home administrators (NHAs) maintain the business and organizational side of long term care facilities. They are also involved on the personal level, focusing on resident care. Above all, the top priorities are quality and safety. To achieve them, NHAs must pair leadership and financial skills with a thorough understanding of the aging process and medical industry.
  • 72 hour fall watch: After a nursing home fall occurs, the patient should be put on a 72 hour fall watch. This involves a series of thorough assessments to make sure all injuries sustained from the fall are documented and treated appropriately. After the fall, if there are obvious signs of serious injury the nursing home resident should be transferred to an emergency room immediately.
  • Bed Alarm: A type of alarm that can be used for people who have Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Levy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia or another kind of dementia. Bed alarms are typically used for a couple of different reasons, but the basic idea is that an alarm sounds when someone is trying to get out or does get out of his bed.
  • Braden Score: The Braden Scale for Predicting Pressure Ulcer Risk, is a tool developed to help health professionals, especially nurses, assess a patient’s risk of developing a pressure ulcer.
  • Feeder table: A feeder table is used for residents who need assistance and/or supervision with eating. A feeder table typically has a “C” shape to it and seats 4-6 residents. The meal time assistant will be seated on the inside of “C” and the residents will be seated on the outside of the “C”.
  • Gait Belt: A gait belt is an assistive device which can be used to help safely transfer a person from a bed to a wheelchair, assist with sitting and standing, and help with walking around. It is secured around the waist to allow a caregiver to grasp the belt to assist in lifting or moving a person. When used properly, the belt protects the care recipient from falling and also protects the caregiver from injuring his or her back as they lift or move the care recipient.
  • Wound Care Nurse: Wound care nurses provide care for both chronic and acute wounds. An acute wound is a new wound, such as a cut, scrape, bruise or incision that is most often a result of surgery or trauma. A chronic wound is usually caused by a disease or condition, like an ulcer, cancer or diabetes, and may not heal as quickly as an acute wound. WOC nurses are primarily responsible for assessing and prescribing appropriate wound care treatment.
  • Significant Weight Loss: Maintaining good nutritional status is key for preserving the health of a nursing home resident. When good nutrition is not maintained, the resident is at risk for developing bed sores, suffering infection, and having other adverse health events. A significant weight loss is a weight loss of: 5% in one month; 7.5% in 3 months; or 10% in 6 months. Having a resident experience significant weight loss is a “change in condition” which would require physician notification and changes in the care plan, assuming that the loss was unintended.
  • Coumadin toxicity: Warfarin (coumadin) toxicity happens when you have too much warfarin in your body. Certain changes to foods and medicines can also increase the effect of warfarin. Warfarin is a medicine that is used to prevent or treat the formation of blot clots. It works by making your blood clot more slowly. Warfarin toxicity can cause bleeding that can become life-threatening.
  • Osteomyelitis: Osteomyelitis is an infection in a bone. Infections can reach a bone by traveling through the bloodstream or spreading from nearby tissue. Infections can also begin in the bone itself if an injury exposes the bone to germs. Smokers and people with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes or kidney failure, are more at risk of developing osteomyelitis. People who have diabetes may develop osteomyelitis in their feet if they have foot ulcers.
  • Shear: Shear is a “mechanical force that acts on an area of skin in a direction parallel to the body’s surface. Shear is affected by the amount of pressure exerted, the coefficient of friction between the materials contacting each other, and the extent to which the body makes contact with the support surface.”
  • Wrongful Death: Wrongful death is a claim against a person who can be held liable for a death. The claim is brought in a civil action, usually by close relatives, as enumerated by statute. Any fatality caused by the wrongful acts of another may result in a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims are often based upon death resulting from negligence, for example following a motor vehicle accident caused by another driver, a dangerous roadway or defective vehicle, or medical malpractice.

Get Help Now

Our team of abuse attorneys is dedicated to seeking damages on behalf of those family members who are being abused and help you find better accommodations for them in the nearby area. We’ve worked on a number of nursing home abuse cases previously in your area and take the time to understand the family’s concerns as well as the situation they believe their loved one is in.

At Phoenix Accident and Injury Law Firm near you, we have more than 15 years of experience helping clients obtain compensation for their and their loved one’s personal injuries, including those from nursing home abuse in the Phoenix area. When you’re ready to talk, please contact our office to arrange a free initial consultation by phone or at our Chandler office, conveniently located near you.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, contact Phoenix Accident and Injury Law Firm in nearby Chandler, AZ to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. We provide personal injury legal services to clients in your area including Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, and Peoria.