Common Nursing Home Terminology

Any facility or practice associated with the medical field is bound to have tough jargon, that is difficult for a novice or the “average Joe” to understand. If you have a family member or loved one who is currently being treated and cared for in a nursing home facility, here is a brief list of common terms that you may hear or come across in nursing home bills, as well as conversations with nursing home staff. These terms are especially important to know if your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect.

Actual Harm: Refers to a deficiency that has caused harm to a nursing home resident’s health.

Deficiency: This is simply any violation of the federal minimum standards for patient care.

Immediate Jeopardy: Any deficiency that is likely to cause or has caused serious injury, harm, impairment or death to a resident in a nursing home.

Medicaid: A joint federal-state health insurance program for the poor. Medicaid will pay nursing home costs for those who qualify medicinally and financially.

Minimum Data Set: This refers to a federal form nursing homes must fill out and complete to determine their current resident’s health status.

Physical Restraint: Any device or equipment that is used to keep a resident from moving freely. Examples of physical restraints include; chair with lap trays, ankle restraints, wrist restraints and in some cases even bed rails are considered physical restraint.

Pressure Sore: Commonly referred to as “bed sores“. A pressure sore is a skin wound that can occur in anyone especially the elderly and those in nursing homes. These wounds result because of limited mobility in nursing home patients, and negligence of nursing home staff.

Scope & Severity Matrix: This is the governments system to rate and determine the seriousness of a violation in patients care according to the federal minimum standards. When this occurs a state inspector determines the harm to a resident as well as how common and widespread the issue is within the particular nursing homes. Each violation is given a letter grade ranging from A to L; with A being the least serious.

Whenever you have a family member or loved one in the care of a nursing home facility it is important to be aware of everything you can in order to assure that they receive the best care possible. Being knowledgeable about nursing home terminology will help you ensure that if an issue does arise you will understand it and be able to take the necessary steps and precautions to prevent it from happening again.

DISCLAIMER: All information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as legal advice. The Law Offices of Steven J. Malman & Associates shall not be liable for any errors or inaccuracies contained herein, or any actions taken in reliance thereon. For more information read our full disclaimer.