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NorQuest Health Dictionary

A research guide focused on medical terminology


A mask designed to supply extra oxygen to the body through the nose and mouth. Facemasks cover the nose and mouth and are connected to a source of oxygen by plastic tubing. SCAE 1000 Unit E2


A residential setting having some shared living areas, such as the dining room, with support services available within the same building. The term facilities may also refer to settings such as retirement homes. RRHB 1000 Unit B1

Facility-based continuing care

A setting in which clients who can no longer benefit from receiving community health services, such as home care or supportive housing arrangements, receive care. Age is not a factor for admission to facility-based care; admission depends on the needs of the person. RRHB 1000 Unit B1


To try to make things equal and right for everyone concerned. You must use fairness when working with co-workers, so they will feel you deal with everyone equally. PCCA 1000 Unit A4


Substance in food that provides energy and fatty acids to the body. Fats are important for growth and can be found in many foods including butter, margarine, and oils. SCSF 1000 Unit F5


Feeling weak and tired, a loss of energy. Congestive heart failure can cause extreme fatigue. FOCC 1000 Unit C4


Body waste from the bowel; also known as stool or bowel movement (BM). When cleaning feces off equipment, use cold water because heat makes it become harder to remove. PCCA 1000 Unit A2

Federal Access of Information Act (AIA)

Federal legislation developed to protect the privacy of individuals. Federal Access of Information Act (AIA) ensures that an individual's personal information is kept confidential. RRHB 1000 Unit B2

Feedback (loop)

Happens when the receiver (person listening to the message) lets the sender (person giving the message) know what he understood the intended message to be, the sender can then correct any misunderstandings. Giving feedback such as "I don't understand what you are trying to say" indicates the message you received was unclear. PCCA 1000 Unit A1

Feeding container/feeding bag

Tube feeding equipment consisting of a bag and hollow tubing that can be filled with liquid nutrition and connected to the feeding tube. SCAE 1000 Unit E5

Feeding tube

A tube that is inserted into the stomach or small intestines to allow nutrition to enter the digestive tract. Different types of feeding tubes include a G-tube, a J-tube, and a nasogastric tube. SCAE 1000 Unit E5

Female reproductive system

Organs necessary for a female to procreate, including a vagina, uterus and two ovaries. The female reproductive system does not develop fully until puberty. FOCC 1000 Unit C2


Referring to an unborn baby that is still developing in the womb. Many disorders can occur during fetal development due to heredity. SCSF 1000 unit F4

Fetal alcohol effect (FAE) and Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)

Disorders caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy that result in the infant having cognitive problems, physical impairments, and psychological difficulties. FAE and FAS are disorders that can be prevented by a pregnant woman not drinking alcohol during her pregnancy. SCSF 1000 unit F4

Fibre-poor formula

A liquid formula used for tube feeding that contains a low amount of fibre. It is the responsibility of the health-care professionals to test fibre-containing formulas. SCAE 1000 Unit E5


A syndrome with a variety of symptoms such as fatigue, joint pain, weakness, and difficulty concentrating. Fibromyalgia sufferers experience severe chronic pain and fatigue. FOCC 1000 Unit C4


A national prevention campaign to prevent food-borne illness. FightBac promotes the following four steps to prevent food-borne illness: clean, separate, cook, and chill. SCSF 1000 Unit F5


Affects how we send a message or receive a message. A past life experience or your frame of mind when sending a message are considered filters. Feeling angry during communication is a filter that affects how you send a message. PCCA 1000 Unit A1

Fine motor movements

Movements that use smaller muscles and hand-eye coordination. Buttoning up a shirt requires fine motor movements of the smaller hand and finger muscles. FOCC 1000 Unit C2

Fire extinguisher

A piece of equipment designed to put out a small fire, using water or chemicals. Use a fire extinguisher to try to put out a small fire only after you have pulled the fire alarm. RRHB 1000 Unit B2

Fire hazard/hazards

Anything that may increase the risk of starting a fire or make a fire spread more easily. Some fire hazards are ashes from cigarettes, overloaded extension cords, and damaged electrical cords. RRHB 1000 Unit B2

Five rights

In this context, the word 'right' means correct and refers to the five standard rights that must be checked to ensure they are correct during medication delivery. The five rights are right client, right drug, right dose, right time, and right route. SCAE 1000 Unit E6


Muscles that are abnormally limp and do not resist movement. Normally, muscles are firm and smooth, not flaccid. FOCC 1000 Unit C2

Flange (bumper)

On a G-tube, this is the round collar that is near the skin where the G-tube enters the body. The flange is used to anchor the G-tube in place so it has less chance of being dislodged. SCAE 1000 Unit E5


Being able to adjust to changes. It is important that a health care aide be flexible when working with clients in the community setting. PCCA 1000 Unit A1


To bend. When flexing the fingers, bend them toward the palm of the hand until resistance or pain is felt. BCND 1000 Unit D2


A special device that is used on oxygen tanks, concentrators, and wall outlets to regulate the flow of oxygen from these sources. You must check the flowmeter every time you assist the client to make sure it is set at the prescribed rate. SCAE 1000 Unit E2


Changes or variations that occur, with or without regularity. A client with Alzheimer disease will have fluctuations in appetite, from being interested in eating often, to refusing to eat. SCSF 1000 Unit F2


Any liquid, or food that is liquid at room temperature, such as gelatin, ice cream, broth, tea, milk, and cream soups. When measuring fluid intake, you must only include fluids the client drank or ate, not how much the client was given. BCND 1000 Unit D1


To use water to rinse out any liquid or solid particles. The nurse uses a syringe to flush the feeding tube before and after administering formula and medications. SCAE 1000 Unit E5


A reddening of the skin, more than is usual, often noticed on the face. If the client's face seems flushed, check to see that she is not dressed too warmly and remove some clothing if necessary. BCND 1000 Unit D1


Helps the person stay on topic or brings the person back to the topic being discussed. Allows you to narrow the conversation to a specific issue. Example: I will have time to talk about farming with you later this afternoon, right now I need to know more about your sore arm. PCCA 1000 Unit A1

FOIPP or Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

This is an Alberta Act to make public bodies (government, schools, agencies) accountable for the way an individual's personal information is collected, used, and shared. According to FOIPP, you must not give out any client information to others unless directed to do so by your supervisor. PCCA 1000 Unit A4

Food allergy

A reaction that occurs when the body thinks a food is harmful and attempts to fight the harm by releasing a chemical called histamine. Symptoms of food allergies include swelling of tongue or throat, difficulty breathing, abdominal cramps, vomiting, or diarrhea. SCSF 1000 Unit F5

Food-borne illness/food poisoning

Caused by eating food or fluids containing microorganisms that cause illness in the body. It is important for the HCA to use safe food-handling practices to prevent food-borne illness. SCSF 1000 Unit F5

Foot drop

Deformity caused by immobility, where the foot becomes fixed in the normal relaxed position. A footboard can be used in the bed to help prevent foot drop. PCCA 1000 Unit A3


The lower part of the arm, between the hand and the elbow. When measuring the blood pressure of a client who is in the sitting position, his forearm and hand should be supported at heart level. SCAE 1000 Unit E3


A fold of skin that covers and protects the head of the penis. The removal of the foreskin from the penis is a procedure called circumcision. FOCC 1000 Unit C2


A commercial infant formula (liquid nutrition) that is sometimes used to feed an infant in place of breast milk. Prepare commercial infant formula by carefully following the instructions on the label. SCSF 1000 unit F4

Formula (liquid nutrition)

Liquid nutrition with specific amounts of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and calories. The formula a client uses will contain nutrients specific to her nutritional needs and health conditions. SCAE 1000 Unit E5

Fowler's position

Semi-sitting position in the bed. People with breathing difficulties will sometimes want to sit in Fowler's position because this assists them to breathe more easily. PCCA 1000 Unit A3

Fracture pan

A smaller bedpan than the standard bedpan that can be easily slipped under a client's buttocks. A fracture pan is used when the client cannot tolerate a standard bedpan, such as after hip surgery. BCND 1000 Unit D3

Fragile X syndrome

An inherited genetic disorder that results in learning disabilities, psychological difficulties, and speech and language problems. Children affected by Fragile X syndrome need speech therapy, a quiet calm environment, and a regular routine. SCSF 1000 unit F4


The action of two surfaces rubbing together. The friction of repositioning someone in bed can be a cause of skin breakdown. PCCA 1000 Unit A3


The normal action of a body system to maintain life. The ten body systems must function at the same time to keep an individual alive and healthy. FOCC 1000 Unit C2

Functional impairment/impairments

A decrease in strength or ability of a body system to maintain a normal level of performance. Functional impairments make it difficult for clients to meet their needs independently. FOCC 1000 Unit C4


The foundation or basis of a principle or concept; the essential parts. Caregivers must understand the fundamental concepts of support work. RRHB 1000 Unit B1


A burial or cremation ceremony for the dead. Different cultures have unique funeral ceremonies based on their cultural and religious beliefs. SCSF 1000 Unit F3

Fungal infection

An infection caused by a fungus growing and spreading to an area of the body such as under a toenail. If nails are being clipped or filed, a mask and eye shield must be worn to protect the HCA from possible fungal infections. BCND 1000 Unit D5