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NorQuest Health Dictionary

A research guide focused on medical terminology


Providing assistance to a client to learn new skills or to adapt to impairment, so he can maximize his level of functioning. Habilitation is not a process designed to assist a person to regain function lost due to disability. RRHB 1000 Unit B1


Unpleasant smell to one's breath. Halitosis can be caused by disease or gastrointestinal disorders. BCND 1000 Unit D1


Seeing, hearing, or feeling something that is not real or does not exist. Do not try to explain to, or argue with, a client that her hallucinations are not real; this will only further upset the client. SCSF 1000 Unit F1

Hallucinatory behaviour

Behaviours related to experiencing hallucinations such as distress, agitation, fear, or anger. If a client is demonstrating hallucinatory behaviours, indicating she feels threatened or distressed, the HCA should try to distract or reassure the client. SCSF 1000 Unit F1


Something that puts a person at a disadvantage; also known as a disability. Public parking areas usually have some stalls reserved as 'handicapped parking' for people with physical disabilities. RRHB 1000 Unit B1

Handrails/Rails/Grab bars

A bannister or bar placed on a wall at hand level that a person may hold for support and security when walking or transferring alone. Handrails can be placed along hallways, beside a toilet, or beside a tub to allow a client to safely transfer and walk while supporting herself with the handrail. BCND 1000 Unit D2


The state of getting along and working well together. When team members work together in harmony, client care is positively affected. RRHB 1000 Unit B3


Something that is a potential risk for causing injury or harm. Fire hazards include conditions that could start a fire or make a fire spread more readily. RRHB 1000 Unit B2

Hazardous behaviour

Actions by a person that could cause injury or harm. Smoking in a careless manner is a hazardous behaviour that can put everyone in a facility at risk. RRHB 1000 Unit B2

Hazardous wastes

These are wastes such as batteries, broken glass, or radioactive materials. Products that WHMIS lists as hazardous must the disposed of in special containers for hazardous waste. PCCA 1000 Unit A2


A state of well-being in a person, including their physical, social, and mental health. Health is more than just the absence of disease. (WHO, 1998) RRHB 1000 Unit B1

Health condition

A change that affects the health of a person and that may affect his or her functioning. Arthritis is a health condition that causes pain and limited joint movements. RRHB 1000 Unit B1

Health Information Act

This is an Alberta Act that sets rules governing the collection, use, and disclosure of health information. The Health Information Act allows health-care providers to share client information with other health-care workers without the client's consent if the information is needed for client care. PCCA 1000 Unit A4

Health Professions Act of Alberta

Legislation that regulates health professionals in Alberta. This Act gives professionals the responsibility of setting their own standards and regulations. HCAs are non-regulated workers and work under the supervision of a regulated professional, as regulated by the Health Professions Act of Alberta. RRHB 1000 Unit B1

Health terminology

Medical words, terms, and phrases used in health care that allow a uniform way of communicating information. BCND 1000 Unit D1


A four-chambered organ that circulates blood throughout the body. The heart receives deoxygenated blood from the body and pumps oxygenated blood to the body. FOCC 1000 Unit C2

Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion occurs if the body's temperature rises too high and the body cannot cool down. A person with heat exhaustion will feel weak and dizzy with nausea and vomiting. FOCC 1000 Unit C3

Helping Relationship

A relationship of mutual trust and understanding between two people. A client and caregiver need to develop a helping relationship in order to work together. PCCA 1000 Unit A1


Blood in vomit (emesis). Hematemesis is a symptom of bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. BCND 1000 Unit D1


Bruise. The approximate size and the colour of a hematoma should be included when documenting. BCND 1000 Unit D1


Blood in the urine. Hematuria is a symptom of a bladder infection or other disorder. BCND 1000 Unit D1


Paralysis of the right or left half the body. CVA can result in hemiplegia that is partial or total. FOCC 1000 Unit C4


Bleeding from blood vessels inside the body. A hemorrhage in the brain can cause a stroke or death. FOCC 1000 Unit C4


Swollen veins in the anus and rectum that may stick out as lumps around the anus on the outside of the body or may form inside the rectum. Hemorrhoids may occur during pregnancy or from straining during bowel movements. FOCC 1000 Unit C4


Inflammation of the liver caused by virus, bacteria, or toxic substances. Depending on the cause, hepatitis can be acute, chronic, or even lead to cancer. FOCC 1000 Unit C4

Hepatitis A

An inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. A client can get hepatitis A through contaminated food and water, contact with infected blood or body fluids, or contact with an infected person. FOCC 1000 Unit C4

Hepatitis B

An inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. Hepatitis B is transmitted through blood and body fluids. FOCC 1000 Unit C4

Hepatitis C

An inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. Hepatitis C is transmitted through blood and body fluids. FOCC 1000 Unit C4

Herbal medication

Medication made from chemical substances found in plants. Herbal medication uses chemical substances found in plants to produce a particular effect on the body's functioning. SCAE 1000 Unit E6


The passing of genetic traits from parent to child, through the generations. A person is more likely to develop certain diseases if they are present in his hereditary background. FOCC 1000 Unit C4

Heterotopic ossification

Abnormal growth of bone in joints as a secondary condition of a brain injury. Heterotopic ossification may affect the ability to control movements. SCSF 1000 Unit F2


A rating system used to order things according to the level of importance or level of need. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is often described using a pyramid shape containing five basic levels of human needs. FOCC 1000 Unit C1

Historical events

Events that affect a community, nation, or society as a whole. Historical events include war or natural disasters. FOCC 1000 Unit C3

Home care

Personal support care that is provided to clients in their own homes. A client who requires home care is assessed to determine his or her needs. RRHB 1000 Unit B1

Home management

A term used to describe tasks required to keep a home clean and organized. The HCA's role in home management is determined by the care agency and the client and his family. SCSF 1000 Unit F5


The state of always telling the truth. Honesty is an important characteristic to have when you are caring for others. PCCA 1000 Unit A4


A substance released by a gland into the body to regulate a process or activity. For example, hormones are important in the regulation of the female menstrual cycle. FOCC 1000 Unit C2


A program to provide support and care for people with a terminal illness. Hospice care is provided in a hospice residence or in the home, for those who prefer to remain home until the end of life. SCSF 1000 Unit F3


A living body or organism that microorganisms attack. Human beings are considered a host for microorganisms. PCCA 1000 Unit A2


The quality of a colour that makes it identifiable as being that colour. When someone is not getting enough oxygen their skin may have a bluish hue around the eyes and lips. FOCC 1000 Unit C2

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

A virus that attacks the immune system and weakens it, making the body highly susceptible to many infections and diseases. HIV causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome and eventually results in death. FOCC 1000 Unit C4


To make moist by adding more water vapour to the gas. Oxygen may be humidified to reduce the drying effect it has on oral mucous membranes. SCAE 1000 Unit E2


The amount of moisture in the air. Very high or very low humidity can cause a client to be uncomfortable. PCCA 1000 Unit A3


Going along with a person's wishes, even though those wishes may not be reasonable or appropriate. To give in to a client's unreasonable demand is humouring him or her. PCCA 1000 Unit A4

Huntington's disease (HD)

A neurological disease that is hereditary and eventually affects both physical and cognitive functioning. HD causes uncontrolled movements, vision problems, and, in the later stages of the disease, causes cognitive problems. FOCC 1000 Unit C4


Taking in enough water and fluids to meet the needs of the body. It is important that clients maintain enough hydration for normal body functioning. BCND 1000 Unit D1

Hydraulic tub/Whirlpool tub

A bathtub that uses jets to send out streams of water, producing a massaging movement in the water. When using a whirlpool tub, ensure you have filled the tub with enough water to cover the jets or water will spray everywhere. BCND 1000 Unit D4


A condition caused by excess cerebrospinal fluid in the head that puts too much pressure on the brain, resulting in damage to brain tissue. A child with hydrocephalus may have no lasting symptoms if the condition is detected and treated before damage to the brain occurs. SCSF 1000 unit F4


A condition of being clean to promote health. Personal hygiene includes bathing regularly and wearing clean clothes each day. RRHB 1000 Unit B1


Methods to keep the body clean, reduce disease-causing bacteria, and remove odours. A bath is an important step in maintaining a client's good personal hygiene. BCND 1000 Unit D4


Too much glucose in the blood causing symptoms such as drowsiness, thirst, flushed face, and frequent urination. Causes of hyperglycemia include eating too much, not enough insulin, stress, and infection. FOCC 1000 Unit C4

Hypertension/high blood pressure

Increased force of blood on the walls of the blood vessels as the blood travels through the vessels. Hypertension is known as the 'silent killer' because a person can have no symptoms until they suffer a health problem such as a stroke. FOCC 1000 Unit C4


A condition that occurs when respirations are more frequent than the normal rate. If hyperventilation is not treated, it may result in the client losing consciousness. SCAE 1000 Unit E3


Too little glucose (blood sugar) in the blood causing symptoms such as trembling, confusion, and perspiration. Causes of hypoglycemia include too much insulin, not eating after taking insulin, or increased exercise. FOCC 1000 Unit C4


Blood pressure that is below normal. If a client has hypotension, when sitting him up from a lying position allow him a few minutes to adjust before assisting him to the standing position. BCND 1000 Unit D1

A blood pressure reading that is below normal; the top number is below 100mmHg or the bottom number is below 60mmHg, or both numbers are below these readings. Hypotension can be caused by shock, medications, or posture. SCAE 1000 Unit E3

Hypothalamus gland

A gland located in the brain that controls activities by releasing hormones into the blood. The hypothalamus is responsible for regulating activities such as body temperature, thirst, and hunger. FOCC 1000 Unit C2


A condition that occurs when respirations are less frequent than the normal rate. If hypoventilation is observed in a client it must be reported to the supervisor. SCAE 1000 Unit E3