Key terms



General practitioner- A doctor who does not specialise in a specific branch of medicine, but provides ongoing treatment and preventative care in the community for a variety of medical problems that may be experienced by individuals of all ages

Preventative care- Care and education that aims to ensure people remain healthy and are aware of factors that can lead to illness and poor health, this includes screening and vaccination programmes

Consultant- A senior doctor, normally based in a hospital, who provides specialist expert healthcare support in their area of expertise

Nurse practitioner- Provides expert consultancy service to patients and their carers; they contribute to the management of the care provision, and also undertake research and contribute to the education and training of other members of staff

Antenatal care- Care provided for a mother and her baby before birth

Postnatal care- Care provided for a mother and her baby after birth

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Supported housing- Shelter, support and care provided for vulnerable people to help them live as independently as possible in the community

Policies- Detailed descriptions of the approach, and often the specific procedures that should be followed, in caring for clients

Safeguarding- Policies to ensure that children and vulnerable adults are protected from harm, abuse and neglect, and that their health and wellbeing is promoted

Self-help groups- Groups formed by people who share a common issue that they wish to address, the members provide advice, support and care for each other

Rehabilitation- The process of restoring a person to good health following surgery, an accident or other illness, including recovery from addiction

Psychotherapy- Type of therapy used to treat emotional and mental health conditions, usually by talking to a trained therapist one-to-one or in a group

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Complementary therapies- A wide range of treatments designed to treat the whole person rather than the symptoms of their disease e.g. acupuncture

Conventional medical treatment- A system of treating an individual's symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation or surgery

Assistive technology- Any tool or strategy used to help people with disabilities complete their studies successfully and reach their full potential

Domiciliary care- Services provided by a welfare agency for people in their own homes

Halal- An Arabic term meaning permissable or allowed, used in the context of preparing food according to Islamic law e.g. how animals are killed and meat prepared for consumption

Kosher- Means suitable, is used in the context of food preparation and consumption according to Jewish dietary laws and covers permitted and forbidden food e.g. not cooking or eating milk and meat products together

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Gluten- A protein that is found in wheat and some other grains; when people with Coeliac disease eat gluten, they experience an immune response that attacks their small intestine and causes symptoms such as abdominal bloating, pain and diarrhoea

Informal care- Care and support provided by relatives and friends, normally unpaid and in addition to the care provided by professional health and care providers

Empowerment- Supporting people to take control of their lives and futures by taking a full part in discussions and decisions about their care and treatment

Individualised care- Care provision tailored to meet the particular and specific needs of each service user

Self-esteem- A person's sense of self-respect; the confidence a person has in their own worth and value

Multi-cultural society- A population made up of people from a variety of different ethnic backgrounds and cultural traditions

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Lone worker's policy- Guidance and procedures aimed at ensuring that people working on their own are safe, this is particularly important when providing domiciliary care and though they are in place specifically to protect the carer from harm, they also provide additional protection for service users

Risk- A situation involving exposure to danger

Risk assessment- A systematic process of evaluating the potential risks that may be involved in an activity or task

Hazard- An identifiable thing that could cause harm

Protocol- A system of rules about the correct way to act in formal situations 

Trade Unions- An organisation made up of members, mainly workers, that protects and advances the interests of its members in the workplace

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Whistleblowing- When a person reports any kind of wrongdoing

Regulatory bodies- Non-membership organisations established on the basis of legal mandate that aim to protect the public by imposing requirements, restrictions and conditions, setting standards and securing compliance

Hazardous waste- Waste containing substances that can cause serious harm to people or equipment, including soiled dressings and items contaminated with bodily fluids, explosives, flammable materals and substances that poison and destroy human tissue

Community care assessment- Professional assessment of care needs provided by a local authority adult social servicers department, which also provides help and advice in accessing services to best meet the service user's need

Carer's assessment- Assessment of the needs of informal carers providing support for a vulnerable person

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National eligibility criteria- Criteria applied to decide whether a service user is entitled to support from the local authority social services department

Personal budget- A cash payment made directly to the service user to help pay for care services

Pressure groups- People who come together to campaign to improve the services offered to their members; they aim to influence public opinion and government decisions

Physical disability- A limitation on a person's physical functioning, mobility, dexterity or stamina

Learning disability- A reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities

Holistic approach- An approach to care that addresses the individual's physical, social, emotional and spiritual health

Multi-disciplinary team- A team in which health and care workers from different professional backgrounds and with different roles plan, implement and monitor an individual's care

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Impairment- Physical or mental loss of function, whether permanent or temporary, that restricts an individual's ability to perform daily activities independently

Disabling environment- A social context in which adaptations and other necessary facilities are put in place to ensure that people with impairments can take a full part in social life

Braille- System of writing and printing for blind or visually impaired people in which raised dots are used to represent letters, numbers and punctuation

Menopause- Stage in life, usually between the ages of 45 and 55, when a woman's menstrual cycle gradually stops and she is no longer able to become pregnant naturally

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Primary healthcare- Healthcare provided in the community for people making an initial approach to a medical practitioner or clinic for advice or treatment

Secondary healthcare- Medical care provided by a specialist or faculty upon referral by a primary care physician that requires more specialised knowledge, skills or equipment

Tertiary healthcare- Specialised consultative healthcare, usually on referral from a primary or secondary health professional in a facility that has personnel and facilities for advanced medical investigation or treatment

NHS foundation trusts- Non-profit, public benefit corporations that were created to devolve decision-making from central government to local organisations and communities; they provide and develop healthcare according to core NHS principles

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