Helpful Terms


Nursing Home – (also called Residential Health Care or Skilled Nursing Facility) Offers long term nursing care, which is unavailable in hospitals or through home care programs. Residents are admitted from their homes, other health care facilities and hospitals. Physicians, nurses, rehabilitation therapists, dentists, podiatrists and recreation and social service professionals provide care through a multi-disciplinary approach designed to maintain residents at their highest functional level. Residents’ physical, social and emotional needs are met in an atmosphere of support and respect.

Subacute Care – A level of care “between hospital and home” is also offered in skilled nursing facilities. It is care for patients of all ages who have been discharged from a hospital but need rehabilitation or complex medical services for recuperation before they can return home. Specialized, short term services may include extensive wound care, cardiac or stroke rehabilitation, intensive rehabilitation following joint replacement, multiple fracture or trauma rehabilitation, medically complex care and pain management. The goal of subacute care is to prepare patients to return home after restoring their mobility and independence.

Resident/Patient – Resident refers to a person for whom the nursing facility is “home”, some one who will live there long term. Patient refers to a person receiving rehabilitative, short term care who at the end of treatment will resume life in the community.

Respite Care – Temporary care for a person who lives in the community that offers relief to the caregiver for a short time (a few days up to several weeks). While the person being cared for is in the nursing facility, he or she receives the medical and nursing care offered to all residents.

Adult Day Services – Community-based programs for frail older people who may require services not found at Senior Centers. The social model, called Social Day Care, provides socialization, support services and recreation in a supervised setting. The medical model, called Adult Day Health Care, offers medical and rehabilitative services as well.

Dedicated Unit – Refers to an area set apart for residents or patients with the same diagnosis.

Off-site – When a facility offers a service off-site, it means a resident or patient is transported to a treatment center away from the facility for the needed service.

JCAHO Accreditation – A voluntary accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, an independent, non-profit organization. Facilities can be accredited in three areas – dementia care, long term care and subacute care.