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NorQuest Health Dictionary

A research guide focused on medical terminology


Small, calcified particles called stones that vary in size and can interfere with the normal flow of bile. Symptoms of gallstones include pain, indigestion, nausea or vomiting. FOCC 1000 Unit C4

Gastric motility

Refers to the wave-like (peristalsis) movements of the gastrointestinal tract that moves food through this system. Call the nurse immediately if you observe signs and symptoms of gastric motility, such as nausea, vomiting, or abdominal distension. SCAE 1000 Unit E5

Gastrointestinal system/Digestive system

The system that breaks down food physically and chemically into small particles to supply nutrients for the body's cells. Organs that make up the gastrointestinal system include the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines. FOCC 1000 Unit C2


An opening created through the wall of the abdomen into the stomach. If tube feeding is required, then a gastrostomy is surgically created to allow a G-tube to enter the stomach through the abdomen. SCAE 1000 Unit E5

Gastrostomy tube/G-tube

A tube that is inserted into a gastrostomy to allow food to go into the stomach. The G-tube is used as a long-term method for feeding a client. SCAE 1000 Unit E5

Gastrostomy tube site/G-tube site

The area of insertion on the abdomen where the G-tube enters the body. It is the role of the HCA to ensure the G-tube site is clean and to observe and report any changes to the skin condition in this area. SCAE 1000 Unit E5


To estimate or guess an approximate distance, size, or position. Use the length of the client's thigh to gauge the distance of the buttocks to the edge of the bed. BCND 1000 Unit D2


Plain, woven, cotton cloth available in various sizes, used for cleaning and covering skin wounds. Gauze is available in a large quantity as a clean product, or in a package of two as a sterile product. SCAE 1000 Unit E4

Gel flotation pad

This type of pad is filled with a gel substance to spread body pressure over a wide surface area. A resident may use a gel flotation pad on his bed to help prevent pressure sores. PCCA 1000 Unit A3

Generic name

The name of a medication based on the chemical substances used in the medication. Also known as the chemical name of a medication. Generic names of medications are often long and complicated, so the manufacturer of a drug will give it a simpler name that is easier to remember. SCAE 1000 Unit E6


Basic instructions inherited at fertilization that determine our biological traits. Genetics determines characteristics such as physical traits, behaviours, and risks of getting a disease. FOCC 1000 Unit C3


The biology of genes, which determine inherited traits or characteristics that make every person unique. Genetics determine the colour of hair and eyes. RRHB 1000 Unit B1

Genital area

The area of the body around and including the vagina in females and the penis in males. When giving peri-care, the HCA should expose the genital area only when being washed. BCND 1000 Unit D3


Movements of hands, arms, or body to help express an idea or feeling. A speaker often gestures with his hands to stress an important idea. PCCA 1000 Unit A1


An organ or group of cells that secrete a substance in the body. The pituitary gland is an important gland of the endocrine system. FOCC 1000 Unit C2


Increased pressure inside the eye causing damage to nerves at the back of the eye. Untreated, glaucoma causes impaired vision that can lead to total blindness. FOCC 1000 Unit C4

Global aphasia

A condition in which all language abilities are severely affected. The affected person cannot read or write, cannot understand written or spoken language, and cannot speak words that are recognizable. Global aphasia may occur after a stroke or brain injury and is the most severe form of aphasia. FOCC 1000 Unit C5

Global assessment

An assessment in which all factors affecting the client are considered. A global assessment of a client will assist in determining the correct formula to use for tube feeding. SCAE 1000 Unit E5


A group of capillaries found in the kidneys that filter the blood to form urine. Glomeruli are an important part of the kidney function. FOCC 1000 Unit C2


A simple sugar the body uses for energy, also known as blood sugar. The insulin hormone regulates the level of glucose in blood. FOCC 1000 Unit C3


To talk, spread rumours, or discuss private information about others. Gossip is the most common boundary crossing and is an unprofessional behaviour. SCSF 1000 Unit F6

Government Organization Act or GOA

See Alberta Government Organization Act. RRHB 1000 Unit B1

Graduated container

A container with liquid measurements, written in millilitres, along the side of the container, similar to a measuring cup used in cooking. When measuring output of a client, use a graduated container. BCND 1000 Unit D3

Graduated pressure

Pressure that progressively increases or decreases. Compression stockings with graduated pressure have more pressure at the ankle, with the amount of pressure decreasing towards the knee. BCND 1000 Unit D6


Markings on a measuring device in specific units of measure, such as millimetres or millimetres of mercury. Gradations on a blood pressure machine are in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). SCAE 1000 Unit E3

Grasp reflex

A reflex in which an infant whose hand or foot is touched will try to grasp the finger with her fingers or curl her toes. The grasp reflex is one of the normal reflexes of a newborn. SCSF 1000 unit F4


Emotions and pain that a person goes through when they learn they will lose or have lost someone they care for. Grief includes a variety of emotions and each person is affected differently, so there is no right or wrong way to experience grief. SCSF 1000 Unit F3

Grief work

The effort and activities involved in working through the grieving process. Grief work for an HCA involves supporting the family through their grief while working through her own grief. SCSF 1000 Unit F3


An official complaint that an employee files with the union to report an unfair or illegal situation in the workplace. Union officials will assist and support an employee when a grievance is filed. RRHB 1000 Unit B2


A process of working through the losses experienced after a loved one dies and then getting on with the new reality of life without that person. There are three phases of grieving: numbness, confronting loss and pain, and redefining and reconnecting. SCSF 1000 Unit F3


To clean and neaten the body by bathing and shaving, as well as performing oral, nail, and hair care. Grooming makes people feel comfortable and refreshed, and improves self-image. BCND 1000 Unit D5

Gross motor movements

Movements that involve using large muscles. Climbing stairs and combing your hair are both gross motor movements. FOCC 1000 Unit C2

Group of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD)

A group of diseases affecting the lungs that is chronic and causes permanent damage to the lungs over a long period of time. This damage results in a reduced flow of air in the lungs. Two common chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. FOCC 1000 Unit C4


The physical changes that are measured and happen in a steady and orderly manner from birth to death. Growth is measured in height and weight, physical appearance, and body functions. FOCC 1000 Unit C3


A person who is legally responsible for making care and financial decisions for another person. The care plan should indicate if the client has a legal guardian. BCND 1000 Unit D1

A person appointed by the court to make decisions for a person who is unable to make decisions for himself. A guardian is an important member of the support team. RRHB 1000 Unit B3


The bubbling sound of air bubbles moving through liquid. When there is too much fluid or saliva in the throat you will hear a gurgling sound when the person is breathing. RRHB 1000 Unit B2