Basic Home Care Terminology: A Glossary

If you are new to the home care landscape, it’s only natural to feel slightly overwhelmed by the unfamiliar terrain. There is new terminology, countless options, and a massive selection of strategies. 


The best way to prepare yourself for any home care discussion is to have a steady foundation of the terminology; this is the foundation of understanding the terrain! Thus, if you are looking to explore the world of home care, the following will act as a basic guideline for some of the terms you may encounter.

24/7 Home Care

This is a caregiving strategy where two to three home care workers coordinate different shifts to provide constant care in the home of an individual. 

Activity of Daily Living (ADL)

This is, quite simply, the daily patterns and habits of the care receiver. If your loved one is unable to complete certain ADLs, this is a determining factor of if they require assistance.

Care Coordinator

A care coordinator, also referred to as a care manager, helps foster communication between all parties of a client’s care. They ensure regular coordination and planning occur for the entire network. 

Family Caregiver

This is the primary caregiver for the client. They are the main point of contact for all major financial, medical, and personal needs for their loved one. It should be noted that the family caregiver is not always the sole caregiver for the client, they are simply the designated care leader.

End-of-Life Planning

This form of planning denotes all health care strategies for the last moments of a patient’s life. This term tends to be used in discussions for terminal illnesses or incurable conditions.

Home Health Aide (HHA)

The HHA is a caregiver who has undergone training or testing to provide home care skills to a client. 

Home Health Care

Home health care is a service that can support a client within their home. It should be noted that this form of service is not always medical, as some clients require non-medical assistance in daily living.

Non Ambulatory

Non ambulatory refers to an individual who cannot physically walk around a space.

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses, who can provide health care services in a home care setting.

Occupational Therapy (OT)

This is a form of therapy that is made to help rehabilitate a client who has lost the ability to perform basic ADLs. Many times, occupational therapy will be discussed if a client has a compromised loss of function.

If you have questions about home health care and other services offered, contact a home health care specialist like Expicare Nursing Agency, in Palm Beach, FL, for more information.