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Nursing Home Abuse Legal Glossary

Click on the first letter of the word from the list above to go to the appropriate section of the glossary.
Contact us if you would like a personal injury law glossary or one of other legal glossaries for your website.

Abuse (Emotional/Verbal): Emotional and verbal abuse occurs when a person says or does something that harm’s the nursing home resident’s self-esteem, such as humiliating, ignoring, or frightening the resident.

Abuse (Financial): Financial abuse occurs when a person illegally or improperly uses a nursing home resident’s money, property, and/or possessions for personal gain.

Abuse (Mental): Mental abuse is sometimes referred to as psychological or emotional abuse. Mental abuse is the intentional infliction of anguish, degradation, fear, or distress through verbal or nonverbal acts.

Abuse (Personal): Action by one person purposely does something to another person that causes mental or physical pain.

Abuse (Physical): The intentional use of physical force that may result in bodily injury or pain.

Abuse (Sexual): Any form of nonconsensual sexual contact, including unwanted or inappropriate touching, rape, sodomy, sexual coercion, sexually explicit photographing, and sexual harassment.

Access: A person’s ability to get necessary medical care and services.

Accessibility of Services: A person’s ability to get necessary medical care and services when needed.

Accredited or Accreditation: A facility is accredited when a private, independent group has met certain quality standards.

Act: Legislation passed by congress.

Action: A formal complaint brought to court.

Activities of Daily Living: Activities done in a normal day, such as walking, eating, dressing, bathing, grooming, and using the toilet.

Actual Charge: The dollar amount charged for medical services or supplies.

Adjudication: The process of being decided by a judge.

Admitting Physician: The doctor that admits a person to a hospital or other in-patient health facility.

Advance Directives: Advanced instructions telling how a person wants his or health care administered in the event that the person is unable to make decisions for himself. Also called a "Living Will."

Advocate: A person or group that supports and/or protects another person’s rights.

Allegation: The claim made in a pleading by a party to an action setting out what he or she expects to prove.

Alzheimer’s Disease: A disorder involving deterioration of mental functions resulting from changes in brain tissues, including shrinkage of brain tissues. The cause is unknown.

Ambulatory Care: Those health services that do not require in-patient hospital care.

Ambulatory Surgical Center: The place in a hospital where outpatient surgeries are performed.

Ancillary Services: Services given by a hospital or other inpatient health program, such as x-rays, lab testing, and drug administration.

Appeal: Request to a superior or higher court to review and change the result in a case decided by an inferior or lower court.

Appellate Court: A court having jurisdiction to hear an appeal and review the decisions of a lower or inferior court.

Approved Amount: The dollar amount Medicare finds reasonable for a covered medical service.

Area Agency on Aging: Local programs that offer help to older people, including transportation services, meals, personal care, day health care, and skilled nursing care. Pennsylvania residents can click here to find their Local Agencies on Aging.

Assault: A willful attempt or threat to harm another person, coupled with the present ability to inflict injury on that person, which causes apprehension in that person.

Assessment: The gathering of information in order to evaluate a person’s health and health-care needs.

Assignment: When a doctor agrees to accept Medicare’s fee as full payment under the original Medicare plan. You must still pay your share of the fee for the doctor’s visit.

Assisted Living Facility: A residence for people needing assistance with certain such as dressing or eating. Assisted Living Facilities provide a lesser skilled level of care than a person would get in a nursing home. They also live more independently. Usually, residents pay a monthly rent, plus additional fees for the services they require and Medicare usually will not cover these expenses.

Attorney-Client Privilege: Client’s privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent any other person from disclosing confidential communications between the client and his or her attorney.

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