Encyclopedia of Medical Terms

Acute Illness

An Illness with an abrupt onset and usually a short course.

Adult Day Health Care

A program that provides health and social services to assist physically and mentally challenged adults to remain living in the community.

Advanced Directive

Any document that specifies what kind of treatment an individual would want in the event of a major illness or injury.

Assisted Living Residence

A place for people needing assistance with activities of daily living but who want to remain living independently for as long as possible.


A usually progressive condition marked by deteriorated cognitive function often with emotional apathy.

Health Care Proxy

A legal document giving a trusted advisor, also called an agent, the responsibility for making medical decisions for an individual who has become incapacitated.

Home Health Care

A program that provides care to individuals in their place of residence to promote, maintain or restore health or for minimizing the effects of disability or illness.

Living Will

A general statement about an individual’s approach to medical care, usually indicating that they don’t want “heroic” measures taken if death is imminent.

Long Term Care

A variety of services including medical and non-medical care for people who have chronic illness or disability.


A federal program that pays for certain health-care expenses for people 65 years of age and older.


A program funded by federal and state governments, that pays for medical care for people who cannot afford to pay on their own.


Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment – MOLST is an alternative form and process for patients to provide their end of life care preferences to health care providers across the spectrum of the health care delivery system.

Palliative Care

Medical care that provides relief, but does not cure a patient’s medical problem. It is often used in tandem with discussions of end-of-life or hospice care where a patient cannot be cured, but needs relief from pain and suffering.


Patient Review Instrument, or PRI is a tool used to determine an individual’s mental and physical abilities. These assessments are New York State law for candidates seeking placement in a skilled nursing facility.


The process of restoring skills for a person who has had an illness or injury so as to regain maximum self-sufficiency and function in a normal or as near normal a manner as possible.

Skilled Nursing Facility

A nursing facility with staff and equipment to provide 24 hr skilled nursing (a level that includes services provided by a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse) and/or skilled rehabilitation therapists.

Transitional Care

A synonym for Rehabilitation.

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