As we age, or we care for aging family members, it can sometimes become confusing when dealing with all the different types of care available, and the terminology used by professionals when discussing available care options. We put together a short list of terms you should know in order to better understand your care options.

Activities of Daily Living (also referred to as ADLs) – Daily tasks such as eating, bathing, dressing, continence, transferring and toileting which are assessed when discussing care options.

Adult Home – A community residence that houses older adults, traditionally with a high level of independence. These homes are private pay.

Advance Directives – A variety of forms that one should complete in order to provide a trusted individual with direction toward your end-of-life care.

Do Not Resuscitate (DNR):  A physician’s order in the patient’s medical chart instructing the medical staff not to try to revive the patient if breathing or heartbeat has stopped.

Health Care Proxy (HCP): Allows you to appoint someone you trust—for example, a family member or close friend—to make health care decisions for you if you lose the ability to make decisions yourself.

Medical Order for Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST): A medical order form that tells others the patient’s medical orders for life-sustaining treatment. MOLST is generally for patients with serious health conditions. The MOLST form must be completed based on the patient’s current medical condition, values and wishes.

Ambulance – Provides transportation for individuals requiring a stretcher.

Ambulette – Provides transportation for those able to transport in a wheelchair.

Assisted Living – A residential option for those needing minimal assistance with ADLs.  Generally, meals, some personal care and activities are provided. Most assisted living communities are private pay; however, there are a few assisted living facilities on Long Island that accept Medicaid.

Adult Day Care – An outpatient program that individuals may attend either for socialization only, or for prescribed health care services. Transportation may be provided.

Social Model – Provides individuals socialization and meals in a supervised setting. Traditionally private pay.

Medical Model: Provides healthcare services, including dispensing medications and physical therapy, in addition to socialization and meals. Typically staffed with nurses and can be covered by Medicaid.

Chronic Care – The care and services provided to a patient with continuing and long-term health issues. Sometimes referred to as long-term care.

Continence – The ability to control bladder and/or bowel movements.

Durable Medical Equipment (DME) – Equipment that will be used more than once, such as wheelchairs, walkers, commodes, etc.

Eldercare Attorney – An attorney specializing in the areas of law involving representing, counseling and assisting seniors and their families in connection with a variety of legal issues, from estate planning to long-term care issues. The primary emphasis is on promoting the highest quality of life for the individuals. These attorneys are experts in Medicaid rules and regulations, and will assist in completing and filing applications.

Home Care – Skilled and unskilled services provided to the individual in the home.

Home Health Aide – Licensed provider who assists individuals in the home. Does not provide medical care, but can help with activities of daily living.

Hospice Care – Provides support and palliative care to people in the final stages of a terminal illness. Hospice care can be provided in the home or in a facility and might include physical support, and emotional and spiritual counseling for the patient and family members. The individual must have a prognosis of six months or less in order to meet the Hospice criteria.

Medicaid – A joint federal and state program providing health care insurance for people with low incomes and limited assets. Each state sets its own limits as to how much a person can have/earn and still be eligible for benefits.

Managed Long Term Care (MLTC): A Medicaid benefit that offers the delivery of long-term services to people who are chronically ill or disabled and who wish to stay in their homes and communities (either in the home setting or by attending an adult day health program).

Medicare – A federal program providing hospital and medical insurance for those aged 65 and older, and to certain disabled or chronically ill people.

Palliative Care – Specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness—whatever the diagnosis—with a goal of improving the quality of life for both the patient and the family. Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment.

Respite Care – Temporary or short-term care provided to the patient at home or in a facility so that the primary informal care-giver can take a break or rest.

Secondary Insurance (also known as Medigap) – A privately-paid-for insurance plan that covers the 20% of skilled services that Medicare does not cover.

Skilled Nursing Facility/Nursing Home – The highest intensity level of long-term care. A skilled nursing facility is defined as a health facility or a distinct part of a hospital that provides 24-hour-a-day nursing care on an inpatient basis. Skilled nursing facilities will at minimum have a registered nurse or LPN on duty at all times and a licensed physician on call at all times.

Short-Term Rehabilitation – Services provided within a nursing home or rehabilitation center setting with the goal of being able to return to the community within a short period of time (average length of stay is 18 days) after rehabilitation is complete.

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