Elder Abuse Glossary

The language and terms you should know when it comes to your loved one’s care

If you are looking for more information about elder abuse and neglect, this glossary can help. Below, we have listed a number of key terms related to this field. In addition to reviewing these, we welcome you to call our offices any time at (866) 326-6932 for a free, confidential consultation. By having a qualified elder abuse attorney talk to you about your case and concerns, you can make informed decisions that are truly in your best interests.

Definitions of key terms related to elder abuse and neglect

Accelerated Death Benefit: A benefit found in some life insurance policies that enables the policyholder to receive cash advances against their death benefit when diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Accreditation: Certification by a third party that an organization or facility, such as a healthcare facility, has displayed they adhere to standards of quality.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): Routine activities that people perform on a daily basis without needing assistance, such as eating, walking, bathing, dressing, and toileting.

Acute Care: Healthcare services where a patient receives short-term treatment for a severe injury, medical condition or illness, or recovery from surgery. Differs from chronic care or long-term care in that it involves a shorter period of treatment.

Acute Psychiatry: Psychiatric intervention provided on an emergency basis for the treatment of sudden and severe psychiatric symptoms. Acute Psychiatry patients can be released to return to their homes or committed into a long-term care facility.

Acute Rehabilitation Hospital: A healthcare facility for patients recovering from traumatic injury or debilitating disease or following certain types of surgery, whereby patients receive intensive, multidisciplinary rehabilitation treatment. Patients in an acute rehabilitation hospital are often transitioned to chronic care, longer term care, or home to continue treatment.

Adjudication: A ruling by a court on a question of law presented by litigants. Courts adjudicate legal questions based on facts presented to them using legal precedents.

Admitting Physician: The physician responsible for documenting the day of admission and the earliest diagnosis while admitting a patient to an inpatient health facility.

Administration on Aging: An agency under the umbrella of the United States Department of Health and Human Services whose job is to ensure that older Americans remain independent in their communities.

Adult Day Health: A daytime care environment outside of the home for individuals who require assistance with activities of daily living.

Adult Protective Services (APS): A state agency which helps elderly persons and dependent adults under the age of 65 who are unable to meet their needs or have been subjected to abuse.

Advance Directive: A written statement of a person’s wishes regarding medical treatment should become incapacitated or disabled. Advanced directives are often included in a living will.

Advocate: A person who works on behalf of an individual to ensure they can access their rights and the services they need.

Allegation: A statement of fact contained in a legal complaint, a legal answer to a complaint or a criminal charge.

Alzheimer’s Disease: An irreversible, progressive brain disorder whose symptoms involve a decline in memory and cognitive skills.

Ambulatory Care: Healthcare services provided on an outpatient basis. Ambulatory care can include diagnosis, observation, consultation, treatment, intervention, and rehabilitation services.

Ambulatory Surgical Center: Healthcare facilities focused on providing same-day surgical care, including diagnostic and preventive procedures.

Ancillary Administration: Administering a decedent’s estate in a state other than the one in which he or she lived, as result of estate assets being in more than one state.

Ancillary Services: Any healthcare service that does not involve primary care including diagnostic, therapeutic, and custodial care. Ancillary services include services such as x-ray, laboratory, pharmacy, and nursing home care, among others.

Annuity: A fixed sum of money paid from an account to a beneficiary on a yearly basis.

Appellate Court: A court which reviews decisions of lower courts. Appellate courts can only review how the trial court applied law to the facts and can reverse a decision if the trial court made an error applying the law to the facts.

Area Agency on Aging (AAA): A network of approximately 620 organizations nationwide which serve elderly populations in their local areas.

Assault: A threat or attempt to strike another. This occurs when the person intentionally causes the victim’s apprehension of immediate harmful or offensive contact. An assault does not need to result in actual contact only apprehension of contact.

Assertive Community Treatment (ACT): A service-delivery model that provides comprehensive, locally based treatment to people with serious and persistent mental illnesses at home. Provides highly individualized services directly similar to the multidisciplinary, round-the-clock staffing of a psychiatric unit.

Assets: Any item of property that has monetary or sentimental value

Assignment: Transferring an interest in property or a contract to a third party. For example, a person may assign their rights to receive payments on a contract to a third party.

Assisted Living Facility (ALF): A facility that provides personal care services in the least restrictive and home-like environment. Residents may receive personal and nursing services at an ALF.

Assisted Living Regulation: Rules and regulations for assisted living facilities usually issued by state regulators.

Assisted Living Residence: A system of housing and limited care designed for senior citizens who require assistance with ADLs, however, do not require the higher level of care provided in a nursing home.

Assistive Equipment: Any tool or device that can make certain tasks easier, and the environment safer. Assistive equipment can include such things as bathroom grab bars. medication dispensers/reminder systems or shower chairs.

Attesting Witnesses: A person who witnesses the signing of a document for the purpose of identification.

Attorney-Client Privilege: A legal rule which allows communications between an attorney and his or her client to remain secret, even when subject to a discovery request or demand that the lawyer testifies under oath.

Average Length of Stay (ALOS): A common statistic associated with length of stay
calculated by dividing the sum of inpatient days by the number of patient admissions with the same diagnosis-related group classification.

Battery: When a person intentionally causes harmful or offensive contact with the victim’s person. The battery does not need to result in physical injury, it only needs to involve contact the recipient considers offensive.

Bedsore: Injuries to the skin and underlying tissue resulting from prolonged pressure. Also called pressure sores or pressure ulcers, this condition often forms on bony areas due to contact with another surface.

Beneficiary: A person who receives something of value such as the recipient of assets held in trust, a will, or life insurance policy.

Benefit Period: The method in which Original Medicare measures utilization of hospital and skilled nursing facility services. The benefit period begins on the day of admission to a hospital or skilled nursing facility.

Benefits: Healthcare items or services covered under a health insurance plan.

Benefit Trigger: The criteria an insurance company will use to determine eligibility for benefits, or the conditions needed to receive benefits.

Bequeath: To give something to an heir or beneficiary through a will.

Burden of Proof: The duty of a party in a trial to produce the evidence that will establish his or her case. For example, in a lawsuit alleging negligence, the plaintiff’s burden of proof is to establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, a breach of that duty and damages caused by that breach.

By or Through the Operator: In an Assisted Living setting, a party who delivers assisted living services directly or through a third party.

C-Diff: Clostridium difficult infection (CDI) is an infection from the bacterium, Clostridium difficult. Commonly found in feces. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, nausea, and abdominal pain.

Caregiver: A provider of health and support services that is either paid or unpaid.

Case Manager: A person who plans, coordinates, evaluates, and advocates for options and services to meet an individual’s health needs.

Catastrophic Illness: An illness requiring prolonged inpatient care or an extended recovery period.

Catastrophic Limit: The maximum out-of-pocket expenses that a person suffering from a catastrophic illness must pay before the insurer covers care related expenses.

Catheter: A medical device consisting of a thin tube made from medical grade materials inserted in the body, frequently used to facilitate the drainage and flow of bodily fluids.

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA): A healthcare provider who helps patients or clients under the supervision of an RN or LPN.

Chronic Condition: A long-lasting health condition or disease that lasts for more than three months.

Chronically Ill Individual: A person who, due to an illness or disease, is unable to perform at least two ADLs or requires maximum supervision to preserve their health and safety.

Circumstantial Evidence: Evidence that relies on an inference to connect it to a conclusion. For example, a fingerprint links a murder suspect to the scene of the crime. Circumstantial evidence, by contrast, provides direct evidence to supports a conclusion. For example, video footage of a crime being committed.

Civil Action: A lawsuit involves private litigants, the plaintiffs, and the defendants—not a criminal proceeding.

Civil Law: Legal rules that govern civil disputes between individuals.

Clinical Practice Guidelines: “Systematically developed statements to assist practitioner and patient decisions about appropriate health care for specific clinical circumstances.”

Cluster Care: A type of home care for senior citizens whereby residents live nearby and are cared for by a team of providers.

Codicil: An amendment to a will.

Coercion: Forcing a person to act against their will by the use of force or intimidation.

Cognitive Impairment: A mental condition involving symptoms that include reduced memory function, impaired language skills, thinking, and judgment. Cognitive impairment is deficiencies that are in addition to normal age-related declines.

Community Spouse: Under Medicaid rules, the husband or wife of a Medicaid applicant who is likely to remain in a medical institution or nursing facility for at least 30 consecutive days. The community spouse must not reside in a medical institution or nursing facility.

Companion: A person or animal who assists another person for therapeutic purposes.

Companionship Services: Under Medicare guidelines, services involving engaging an elderly person in social, physical, and mental activities.

Comprehensive Assessment: An evaluation of client resources and strengths, including family and other close supports that can be utilized during service planning.

Consent: Permission for something to happen or an agreement to do something. Consent must normally be knowing.

Conservator: A guardian or a protector appointed by a judge to manage the financial affairs and daily life of one who is disabled or incapacitated.

Contingent Fee Agreement: A legal fee arrangement where the client only pays a fixed percentage of the amount recovered.

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC): A residential living facility offering independent housing to assisted living to round-the-clock nursing services–under one “roof.”

Contracture: When the normally stretchy tissues are replaced by rigid tissue, thus making it hard to stretch the area and prevents normal movement.

Contributory Negligence: When an injured plaintiff’s behavior contributes to their injury. A finding of contributory negligence can reduce the amount recovered from the defendant.

Covered Benefit: Items or services an insurance plan covers with cost sharing in its network. Uncovered benefits or covered benefits out-of-network cost more.

Covered Charges: Services that are covered under the terms of an insurance policy.

Criminal Law: Distinguished from civil law, is a system of laws concerned with the punishment of individuals who commit crimes.

Cueing: Verbal or physical prompts to convey a message to someone, particularly if the recipient has difficulty following directions or remembering.

Custodial Care: Non-skilled, personal care, that aids with activities of daily living.

Damages: An award is arising from a lawsuit to be paid to a person as compensation for loss or injury.

Death Certificate: An official statement, signed by a physician, of the cause, date, and place of a person’s death.

Decedent: A person who has died, often used in the context of a will.

Deductible: Under an insurance policy a specified amount of money that the insured must pay before an insurance company will pay a claim.

Deficiency: A lack or shortage of something. A person may suffer from a vitamin deficiency or a lack of a certain vitamin.

Dehydration: The loss or removal of water of body, commonly the result of illness or a lack of adequate fluid intake.

Dementia: A disorder affecting mental processes caused by brain disease or injury. Symptoms include memory loss, personality changes, and impaired reasoning.

Deposition: Out-of-court oral testimony given by a witness, in a lawsuit, that is transcribed and later used in court or for discovery purposes.

Depression: A common but serious mood disorder, resulting in severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.

Direct Evidence: Evidence that provides direct factual information in a trial, e.g. a photograph, a document, or a witness’s account.

Discharge Planning: A process used to plan for the best method for a patient to move from one level of care to another.

Domicile: The place that a person treats as their permanent home, or lives in and has a substantial connection.

Dual Eligible: Dual-eligible beneficiaries refers to those qualifying for both Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

Durable Medical Equipment (DME): Any equipment that provides therapeutic benefits to a patient in need because of certain medical conditions and illnesses. Durable Medical Equipment consists of items that:

  • Serve a medical purpose;
  • Are used primarily by individuals suffering from an illness, disability, or injury;
  • Are ordered or prescribed by a physician;
  • Are reusable;
  • Can stand repeated use, and
  • Are appropriate for use in the home.

Durable Power of Attorney: A legal document that gives someone the power to act in your place in medical or financial decisions in the event of incapacity or disability.

Duty: In tort law, a legal obligation to follow a standard of reasonable care while performing any acts that could foreseeably harm others. A plaintiff must first establish a defendant owed a plaintiff a duty in a case alleging negligence.

Edema: A medical condition involving excess fluid collecting in the cavities or tissues of the body

Elder: A person of greater age, often used to refer to older segments of the population or those over 65 years old.

Elder Abuse: When a caregiver knowingly, intentionally, or negligently causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable senior citizen. Types of elder abuse:

  • Physical abuse: Conduct that results in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment.
  • Emotional abuse: Infliction of anguish, pain, or distress through verbal or non-verbal acts.
  • Financial abuse: Illegal or improper use of an elder’s funds, property, or assets.
  • Neglect: Refusal, or failure, to fulfill any part of a person’s obligations or duties to a senior citizen.
  • Abandonment: Desertion of a senior citizen by an individual providing care.
  • Sexual abuse: Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind with an elderly person.

Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACPA): The EADACPA covers physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment resulting in physical harm or pain or mental suffering.

Elder at Risk (EAR): Any person who is 60 years of age or older who has experienced, is experiencing, or is at risk of being subjected to elder abuse.

Elder Care: Care provided to the elderly by residential institutions, by paid daily help in the home, or by family members.

Elder Law: An area of legal practice that places emphasis on those issues that affect the aging population.

Elder Law Attorney: An attorney whose practice focuses on those issues that affect the aging population.

Elder Justice Act of 2009: Federal law that provides a framework for developing and implementing strategies to mitigate the risk of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

End-Stage Renal Disease: The last stage of chronic kidney disease when your kidneys are no longer able to effectively work. Due to reduced kidney function, a person cannot survive without dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Estate: The net worth of a person at any point in time, alive or dead. An estate is calculated as the sum of a person’s assets, legal rights to things of value, interests, and entitlements to the property of any kind minus all liabilities at that time.

Executor: A person appointed by a deceased person in their will to carry out the terms of their will.

Exemplary Damages: Legal damages in a lawsuit awarded to punish the offender and deter others.

Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG): Annual income guidelines published by the Federal government used to calculate eligibility for certain programs.

Fiduciary: A relationship involving trust, often involving a financial relationship.

Friendly Visitor: A person who maintains regular contact with older persons who are living alone or homebound. These individuals ensure that someone will have contact with the older person to identify his or her needs and notify those who can help.

Geriatric Care Manager: A person who assesses, plans, coordinates, monitors and provides services for the elderly and their families.

Geriatrician: The branch of medicine or social science dealing with the health and care of senior citizens.

Gerontology: The study of old age, aging, and problems related to aging.

Grievance: A complaint or protest regarding wrongful treatment.

Gross Negligence: In civil law, conduct that exceeds ordinary negligence involving conduct that is grossly negligent in a conscious and voluntary disregard of reasonable care.

Guardian: A person who is legally responsible for someone who is unable to manage their affairs.

Hands-On Assistance: Physical support to assist another so that ADLs can be carried out without a reduced risk of fall or injury.

Health Care Financing Administration: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) was previously known as the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA). A federal agency within the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Healthcare Provider: A person or organization who provides healthcare services.

Healthcare Proxy: A document that lets a person appoint another person to make healthcare decisions if a person becomes disabled or incapacitated.

Homebound: Medicare considers a person homebound if the patient meets both of the following criteria:

  • Requires the help of another person or medical equipment such as crutches, a walker, or a wheelchair to leave their home; or
  • A doctor believes that the patient’s health or illness could worsen outside the home.

Home Health Aide (HHA): A person is working for a home health agency or hospice that performs home health services ordered by a physician.

Home Healthcare: A wide range of healthcare services provided in the home and is usually less expensive when compared to inpatient or long-term care.

Homemaker Services: Services involving assistance to persons who are unable to perform daily household duties without assistance. These services include light housekeeping, laundry, limited personal care, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and shopping.

Hospice: An organization that is providing care for the terminally ill.

Incapacity: The physical or mental inability to do something or to manage one’s affairs.

Incompetent: Lacking the necessary skills to do something successfully.

Incontinent: A medical condition involving no or insufficient voluntary control over urination or defecation.

Independent Elderly Housing: Housing designed for seniors 55 years and older.

Informed Consent: When a patient grants permission for a healthcare provider to provide treatment with full knowledge of the possible risks and benefits.

In-Patient Care: Care of patients whose condition requires admission to a hospital.

Inspection Report: An inspection report is the report of findings involving a healthcare facility’s compliance with regulations.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs): Daily activities not required for fundamental functioning, but which allow an individual to live independently in a community consisting of shopping, housekeeping, accounting, food preparation, medication, telephone, and transportation.

Internist: A specialist in internal medicine.

Irrevocable Trust: A trust that the settlor (the person creating the trust) may not revoke.

Joint and Several Liability: In a tort claim with multiple defendants, a rule allowing a plaintiff to recover all damages from any of the defendants, regardless of their individual liability.

Judicial Notice: A rule in the law of evidence that allows a fact to be introduced into evidence without additional proof if the fact is well known that it cannot reasonably be doubted.

Jurisdiction: The power of a court to make legal decisions over a dispute. Jurisdiction is normally defined by the subject matter of the dispute or where the parties to the dispute are located.

Lawsuit: A claim or dispute brought to a court of law for adjudication.

Leading Case: An important judicial decision that is frequently regarded as having settled or determined the law on a particular issue.

Legal Cause: In personal injury law, a term which refers to action which caused a plaintiff’s injury.

Legal Guardian: A person who has the legal authority to care for the personal and property interests of another person, called a ward.

Liability: Legal responsible for something occurring such as an injury.

Life Tenancy: A form of property occupancy in which the occupant has all normal rights an outright owner would hold, except the right to sell the property they occupy. Upon the death of the life tenant, the property reverts to the owner, or to a third party designated by the owner.

Living Trust: A trust that is in effect during the lifetime of the person who establishes it.

Living Will: A written document containing a person’s wishes regarding their medical treatment when they become disabled or incapacitated.

Long-Term Care: A type of long-term healthcare service serving people with a chronic illness or disability. Long-term care can involve both medical and non-medical services.

Long Term Care Insurance: An insurance product that provides for the cost of long-term care beyond a predetermined period. Long-term care insurance covers care not covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program: Advocates for residents of nursing homes, board and care homes, and assisted living facilities, who provide information about how to find a facility and what to do to get quality care under the administration of the Administration on Aging (AoA).

Malfeasance: Wrongdoing, especially by a public official.

Malnutrition: Lack of proper nutrition caused by an insufficient diet.

Manipulation: Manipulating especially a body part by manual examination and treatment.

Material Fact: In the context of the legal definition of fraud or misrepresentation, a material fact is meant that the subject matter of the statement would be important to the decision to be made. A material fact impacts directly on whether a person would act in a certain manner.

Medicaid: A federal system of health insurance for those requiring financial assistance administered at the state level. Medicaid is a means-tested program in that eligibility is determined by an applicant’s income level.

Medically Necessary: Under Medicare regulations, healthcare services or supplies necessary to prevent, diagnose, or treat an illness, injury, condition, disease, or its symptoms and that meet accepted standards of medicine.

Medicare Managed Care Plan: A type of insurance coverage that will pay for healthcare bills that Medicare does not cover. Medicare managed care plans are HMOs or PPOs that provide basic Medicare coverage plus other coverage to fill the gaps in Medicare coverage.

Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance): Covers Medicare eligible inpatient care while in a hospital, a skilled nursing facility or at home.

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance): Medicare coverage that pays for doctors’ services and outpatient care.

Misfeasance: A wrongful exercise of lawful authority.

National Center on Elder Abuse: An agency directed by the U.S Administration on Aging, with a mission involving the prevention of elder mistreatment.

National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse: The National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA) is a non-profit organization whose mission involves the prevention of abuse and neglect of older persons and adults with disabilities dedicated to protecting the safety, security, and dignity of America’s most vulnerable citizens.

Neglect: A failure to properly provide or exercise care. What constitutes neglect is often based on standards of care based on professional standards.

Negligence: In tort law, a cause of action in which a person fails to take proper care in doing something thus resulting in an injury to a party whom the person owed a duty of care.

Nurse Practitioner: Advanced practice registered nurses who provide care to patients. Nurse practitioners can order and interpret diagnostic tests such as X-rays and EKGs, as well as laboratory tests, prescribe medications and therapies, perform procedures, and educate and counsel patients and their families regarding healthy lifestyles and healthcare options.

Nursing Home: A private institution providing residential accommodations with healthcare, especially for senior citizens.

Nursing Home Abuse: Intentionally causing physical injury or emotional distress to a nursing home resident through physical or mental abuse.

Nursing Home Negligence: Neglectful conduct or abuse that causes harm to a patient or resident residing in a nursing home.

Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987: A federal law whose purpose is to ensure a high level of mental, physical, and psychosocial well-being among nursing home residents. The Nursing Home Reform Act enforces quality care and the provision of certain services to nursing home residents.

Occupational Therapist: A healthcare provider who offers a form of therapy that focuses on the development or rehabilitation of an individual’s ability to engage in ADLs.

The Older Americans Act: Federal law that provides for supports on a range of home and community-based services. These services include meals-on-wheels and other nutrition programs, in-home services, transportation, legal services, elder abuse prevention, and caregivers support.

Order: A ruling issued by a court that is binding on parties. An Order may be appealed, however, failure to follow an Order may result in a party being held in contempt of court.

Out-of-Court Settlement: A resolution between litigants, reached either before or after the trial.

Paratransit Services: A special transportation service for people with disabilities, used as a supplement to other public transit.

Participating Physician: A physician who agrees to take assignment on all Medicare claims in that they must accept Medicare’s reimbursement rate as payment in full for all covered services for the duration of the calendar year.

Participating Supplier: Healthcare providers that have entered into a contract with the Medicare Part B program who must accept the Medicare Part B approved amount as payment in full for services provided.

Peer Review Organization: Physicians hired by the federal government to review the service provided to Medicare subscribers by the Medicare approved facilities.

Personal Emergency Response System (PERS): Allows a person to call for help in an emergency by pushing a button.

Personal Representative: An individual entrusted to manage property and money on behalf of another or a person who settles a decedent’s financial affairs.

Physical Therapy: A method of treatment and prevention involving massage, heat treatment, stretching, and strengthening used primarily to treat conditions involving muscular, skeletal, joint, and tendon injuries.

Physician’s Assistant: A healthcare practitioner who can practice medicine under the auspices of a licensed physician. A supervising physician need not be present during the time the PA performs his or her duties. However, there must always be a method of contact between the supervising physician and the physician assistant.

Plaintiff: A person who files a case against a defendant in a court of law.

Plan of Care: A document developed in light of the findings in a patient assessment that identifies the diagnoses to be addressed in the hospital or clinic. The plan of care includes the objectives, interventions, and time frame for accomplishment and evaluation.

Pleading: Documents that are filed to initiate a lawsuit in which the plaintiff submits his claim and the defendant submits their answer to the complaint and defenses.

Power of Attorney: A document providing legal authority to act for another person in specified or all legal or financial matters.

Precedent: A legal rule from a previous case that is regarded as a guide to be considered in subsequent similar circumstances.

Premium: An amount to be paid to maintain coverage on an insurance policy.

Preponderance of the Evidence: The weight of the evidence required in a civil (non-criminal) lawsuit for one side to prevail. Evidence which proves that it is more likely than not that the facts presented are true.

Primary Care Physician (PCP): A physician who provides the first contact for the care and offers continuing and preventative care.

Principal: A person authorizing an agent to act on their behalf with a third party.

Privileged Communication: A legal principle that protects the confidentiality of certain communications between parties so that another party can force disclosure of these communications. Examples of privilege include the doctor-patient and attorney-client privileges.

Probate: The official process involving a court proving a will and adjudicating any legal issues that arise.

Procedural Law: The rules court follows when handling litigation, including how pleadings are filed and the timing of stages of the case.

Provider: An individual who provides preventive, curative, promotional, or rehabilitative healthcare services.

Proximate Cause: The link between an action and an injury. In tort law, the action must result in an injury that can be reasonably expected and be linked to the wrongful action.

Psychoactive Drug: A drug that acts primarily upon the central nervous system where it alters brain function, resulting in temporary changes in perception, mood, consciousness, and behavior.

Rape: Forcing another person to have sexual intercourse against their will.

Reasonable Care: The amount of caution and concern an ordinarily prudent and rational person would use in similar circumstances. It is a standard used to determine a legal duty and whether such duty was fulfilled.

Reasonable Man Doctrine: The standard of care which a person must adhere to, to avoid civil liability for negligence. It is thought of as how a reasonable man exercising adequate care would behave.

Recovery: The amount ultimately collected from a legal judgment.

Registered Nurse: A nurse with a degree from a recognized nursing program who has met the licensing requirements of a licensing body to obtain a nursing license.

Respite Care: Temporary institutional care for a patient to provide relief for their usual caregivers.

Rest Home: A residential institution where old or frail people are cared for.

Restraint: A measure or condition that keeps someone or something under control or within limits.

Retirement Community: A housing complex designed to serve senior citizens who can care for themselves.

Revocable Trust: A trust that the settlor may revoke at will.

Senior Center: A type of community center where senior citizens can meet to socialize and engage in activities.

Side Effect: An undesirable health effect from a drug or medical treatment.

Skilled Nursing Care: A type of healthcare involving care from skilled providers such as nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy are considered skilled care by Medicare.

Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF): A type of nursing home recognized by the Medicare and Medicaid systems as meeting long-term healthcare needs of individuals who have the potential to function independently after a limited period of care.

Sodomy: Sexual intercourse involving anal or oral copulation.

Specialist: A healthcare provider who concentrates primarily on a particular type of service.

Standard of Care: In tort law, the degree of prudence and caution required of an individual who is under a duty of care.

Stare Decisis: In the American legal system, the principle that prior court decisions should guide how future cases are decided.

Statute: A law enacted passed by a federal, state, or local legislature.

Statute of Limitations: A statute prescribing the period of time in which a lawsuit may be filed. A case will be dismissed if filed beyond the statute of limitations.

Subpoena: A court document ordering a person to attend a court hearing to provide testimony.

Subpoena Duces Tecum: A subpoena compels a person to appear before the court and produce documents or other evidence. A discovery tool used to obtain relevant documents from witnesses.

Substantial Supervision: Continual monitoring by another person to protect from threats to health and safety, for example, to prevent wandering off.

Substantive Law: Laws that govern behavior and how conflicts are resolved in the form of statutes or precedent in common law.

Summons: An order to appear before a judge or magistrate or answer to a legal pleading. A summons is issued to provide notice of a legal filing and often accompanies a complaint or petition.

Survival Action: A lawsuit in which a decedent’s estate is allowed to recover for injuries caused to the decedent from the time of the injury until the death.

Survival Statutes: A statute that allows a decedent’s estate to sue for injuries or damages suffered by the decedent.

Testimony: Formal written or spoken statement given in a court of law.

Tort: A wrongful act or an infringement of a right (other than under contract) leading to civil legal liability.

Tortfeasor: A person who commits a tort.

Tortious: Conduct involving a tort.

Treatment Options: The available types of therapies available to a patient to treat a particular condition.

Trust: A legal arrangement in which property is held by one party (the trustee) for the benefit of another. Trust assets are distributed to beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust.

Verdict: A final decision in a civil or criminal case or an inquest.

Violence Against Women Act: Federal law passed in 1994 which established the U.S. Office on Violence Against Women and created a range of legal measures to reduce violence against women and offer protections for victims of violence against offenders.

Visiting Nurse: A nurse who visits and treats patients in their homes.

Void: A declaration that something is not legally binding.

Wandering: A behavior common among patients in nursing homes who suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia. Wandering patients travel aimlessly from place to place and can be put at risk of injury.

Waiver: Voluntarily or involuntarily surrendering one’s right to enforce a legal right or issue.

Will: A legal document in whereby the testator states his wishes as to how his final affairs and assets will be distributed at death. A will is also commonly referred to as a last will and testament.

Willful Negligence: Intentionally engaging in an unreasonable act involving willful indifference toward a known risk that is highly probable that harm will be caused.

The World Health Organization: An agency of the United Nations, established in 1948 to promote health and control communicable diseases.

Writ: A written command issued by a court or other legal authority to act, or abstain from acting, in some way.

Wrongful Death Action: A legal action to recover damages from a party that is judged to have contributed to or caused the death of another person.

Wrongful Death Statute: A statute that authorizes recovery of damages from a party that is judged to have contributed to or caused the death of another person.

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