A Glossary Of Common Senior Care Phrases

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Every industry has its own language and terms. These words and phrases can be confusing to anyone who is not part of the daily operations of a specific sector, and the senior care business is no exception.

To help you understand the terms, acronyms, and phrases regularly used when enquiring about senior care, Buckingham South has created this handy reference guide. Here you’ll find valuable information allowing you to comprehend and communicate your senior care needs effectively.

ADLs stands for Activities of Daily Living. You’ll hear this term used in many healthcare settings. When a senior is changing environments or moving into an assisted living facility, one of the things asked will be a list of daily activities. It refers to the nitty-gritty of the senior’s daily routine: what time of day/how often/how one likes to shower, eat, get dressed, take care of their oral, eye, nail, and foot hygiene.

Levels of care
If you hear this term, listen closely. Assisted living can offer different levels of care, but how different? Is it independent or full? Or is it more comprehensive and personalized? We offer FIVE levels of assisted living. Beginning at independence, one can safely and confidently know that they can always return to us if their needs change or evolve, as life does. Please ask for more details as we personalize care.

Skilled nursing
It can refer to a facility, home care, or a private caregiver. What skilled nursing usually refers to is the need for twenty-four-hour supervision.

It sounds straightforward, and it usually is. When we do an assessment, we’re not just asking questions. We watch how one grasps items, ambulates (walks with a cane or walker), eats or drinks, where they like to sit, and how tired or motivated they are to do certain things.

It’s never an exact science, and being in a hospital always slows things down as these organizations do not encourage one to move or get out of bed.

An assessment gives assisted living a jump start on what to expect and what care to provide from the get-go, and a patient’s assessment is not meant to be written in stone. Patients can get disoriented being in a new place, so we anticipate and expect that. We help bring them back to their daily routine as quickly as possible, based on the information we’ve collected.

Memory care
We have a unique outlook on memory care. Our approach is one of integrating our residents with as many mentally, physically and socially stimulating activities as possible. The help, smiles, camaraderie, and assistance our memory care patients receive is priceless. Joining in regular activities is an excellent way to preserve intellectual functioning and has proven to slow down the aging process. We offer memory care and would love to show you and your elderly loved one how it works.

Qualifying hospital stays
Sometimes, elderly individuals need intensive rehab. If a senior had a procedure, a fall, or an infection that landed them in a hospital, they could qualify for a stay at a rehab facility. Doctors will talk to you and your family, as it’s recommended for recovery, so participate as much as possible. Additionally, Medicare will pay in full for twenty days in a rehab facility. Please do your homework or call us to help you navigate rehabilitative stays.

Medication management
A licensed assisted living facility will offer medication management, but it’s not always what you think. We have certified med-techs and locked med carts on each floor with a scanner to record each medicine given; even vitamins and nonprescription drugs are available.

For an assisted living caregiver to administer medication, just a med list is not sufficient. We collect actual orders (prescriptions) for each medicine and vitamin, the correct dosage, time of day to take it, and how often.

The doctor also orders a medication taken only upon request (PRN), and instructions are given as per prescription. It can be for pain, mood, appetite, and they all come with instructions. Our Registered Nurse, LPN, and med techs are highly trained and often catch problems in medication orders that families or doctors overlook.

Proxy caregiver
A proxy service is a prescription from a doctor that is not necessarily a medicine. A good example is when a doctor prescribes oxygen. The instructions to insert the tube into the nose, how much oxygen (usually in liters*), how to turn it on, clean it, and refill it all come from the doctor’s office. It’s more of an activity than a medicine. Our caregivers are proxy trained by our registered nurse. In addition, we do wound care, oxygen care, catheter, and colostomy services.

Medical supplies
A medical supply can be pull-ups or pads, gloves, or a shower chair or commode. Every person’s needs are different. Some people like to wear these for protection, and some need them for incontinence.

A shower chair will be for one who gets tired quickly or wants to ‘rest’ in the shower (not necessarily a medical need). An over- toilet commode raises a toilet for one who has trouble getting up or down and wants sturdy armrests which can help them remain independent. 

Our caregivers can tell right away what supplies one might benefit from, and we can ask the doctor to order them if needed.

Bed rails
Assisted living and nursing facilities are not permitted to have complete bed rails, as they are considered restraints, which are used in psychiatric facilities. We like to use half-bed rails or even the bed rails you can buy online. They are suitable for grabbing when trying to get in or out of bed, stabilizing someone who rolls around a lot in bed or is at risk of falling out of bed.

Ambulation is how one gets around. Can they walk? Do they use a cane, a walker, or do they need a wheelchair? Can they walk alone with reminders to use their walker? Do they have a wheelchair, and do they need it all the time or only for long distances? Can they wheel themselves, or do they need assistance? These are all ambulation questions.

Don’t think that even if one needs a wheelchair, they require full aid for everything. Sometimes one has an inoperable hip issue, or they need to stay on their feet. We have a few residents who use a wheelchair but still drive. We don’t judge a book by its cover. Our goal is to understand your loved one’s condition and ensure they receive the support they deserve.

Health coverage
Medicare, Medicaid, Long Term Care Insurance, and VA Benefits are the common varieties of health coverage. Medicare (and any health or prescription insurance) can help pay for medications, prescribed mobility devices (walker, wheelchair, shower chair, commode), or therapies like physical therapy. 

Medicaid is a financial subsidy that one has to apply for and be approved. Long-term care insurance can help pay for assisted living, private caregivers (through a licensed agency like ours), or any life- assistance after the elected date. On the other hand, VA Benefits are for veterans who served during wartime and their families. If your loved one is a veteran in need of assisted living care, we can recommend veteran experts whom we work with continuously. 

We hope this blog on the common terms used in the assisted living industry made you feel more confident about moving forward with home health care. If you’re looking for senior home health care in Savannah, GA, reach out to the experts at Buckingham South. With many years of experience in the home care sector, we make residents our top priority. We offer a stimulating activity program and dedicated staff trained to render a unique balance of independence and support. Our fellow residents also provide a sense of community.

We specialize in senior assisted living, home care, and other senior care services. All of this we provide to clients across Skidaway Island, Wilmington Island, Habersham Woods, The Landings, Ardsley Park, Thunderbolt, Tybee Island, Sun City, Pooler, Sea Island, Savannah, Chatham County, Port Royal, Hilton Head Island, Beaufort County.

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