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NorQuest Health Dictionary

A research guide focused on medical terminology


An acronym, used in many facilities, to remember how to respond to a fire. 'R' is for removing persons in danger, 'E' is for ensuring doors are closed, 'A' is for activating the fire alarm, 'C' is for calling the facility fire emergency number, and 'T' is for trying to extinguish or control the fire. RRHB 1000 Unit B2

Radial artery

An artery that runs along the inside of the forearm to the wrist, on the same side of the forearm as the thumb. The radial artery is used when measuring the radial pulse of a client. SCAE 1000 Unit E3

Radial pulse

A pulse that is felt using the radial artery at the inner wrist on the same side as the thumb. The radial pulse is one of the easiest pulses to feel with the pads of the fingers because it is close to the surface of the skin and close to the bone beneath it. SCAE 1000 Unit E3


Spreading out from a central area. Abnormal findings of the circulatory system include pain in the chest that radiates to the neck, arms, or jaw. FOCC 1000 Unit C2

Radiation therapy

The use of radiation to prevent cancer cells from continuing to grow. Side effects of radiation therapy usually affect only the area being treated. FOCC 1000 Unit C4

Raised toilet seat

An appliance that is secured over the toilet to raise the seating level higher. A raised toilet seat is beneficial for clients with arthritis or hip disorders. BCND 1000 Unit D3

Range of motion (ROM)

The degree to which a joint can be moved without using force or causing pain. Range of motion should not be performed beyond the point where resistance is felt in the joint. BCND 1000 Unit D2


A relationship of mutual trust and understanding. When providing support and care to a palliative client it is important to establish a good rapport with the client. SCSF 1000 Unit F3

Rate of pulse

The number of times the heart beats (the pulse) in one full minute. The normal rate of a client's pulse should not be below 60 or above 100 beats per minute. SCAE 1000 Unit E3


The person the message is being sent to in the communication process. To understand the message, the receiver must listen to the sender's verbal and non-verbal messages. PCCA 1000 Unit A1


Into the rectum. Enemas and suppositories are administered rectally to relieve constipation. SCAE 1000 Unit E6

Rectal medication

Medication given in the rectum as enemas or suppositories. The route of rectal medications delivery is a restricted activity and the HCAs need to be trained by the employing agency in order to give these medications. SCAE 1000 Unit E6

Rectal temperature

A measurement of body heat using a thermometer that is placed in the rectum. It is important to know there is a thermometer designed specifically for taking a rectal temperature. SCAE 1000 Unit E3

Refined sugar

Sugar cane that has been processed until it becomes small white sugar particles. A person with diabetes must restrict his or her intake of refined sugar. BCND 1000 Unit D7


An automatic and involuntary response to stimuli. As we age, the nervous system changes and reflex responses decrease. FOCC 1000 Unit C3


An involuntary response to a stimulus. Infants are born with several reflexes intact, including blinking, rooting, sucking, and grasping. SCSF 1000 unit F4


To hold back from using or hold back from doing something. When communicating to a client or family member, refrain from using medical words the person may not understand. PCCA 1000 Unit A1


A planned system or schedule. Most clients will have a unique morning regime adapted to their preferences and abilities. FOCC 1000 Unit C4

Registered nurse

A nurse registered with a professional organization. The registered nurse is usually responsible for organizing and leading support team activities in a care facility. RRHB 1000 Unit B3


Rules that outline what is allowed. Regulations are in place regarding the criteria that must be met before an HCA can perform a restricted activity. RRHB 1000 Unit B1


The backflow of food from the stomach or small intestines toward the esophagus and mouth. It is critical that the HCA ensure the client is positioned correctly before, during, and after a tube feeding to prevent regurgitation of the formula. SCAE 1000 Unit E5


A process to help restore a person to their highest level of functioning when they have been affected by illness, disease or injury. Rehabilitation after a stroke can help the client to regain functioning of affected body parts. RRHB 1000 Unit B1

Relaxation techniques

Methods a person may follow to help reduce stress and relax the body. One method an HCA can use to help a client control pain is to teach the client relaxation techniques. SCSF 1000 Unit F3


Recalling or talking about past experiences and events. Use reminiscence with a client who has dementia to get an idea of what the client may be feeling or missing. SCSF 1000 Unit F2


A method of providing information to a client about their present situation in a way that is meaningful to the client. Reorientation techniques include using communicating in a meaningful way to the client, providing small amounts of information to reduce confusion, providing information in a way that reduces embarrassment and frustration for the client, and providing visual materials to orientate the client to day and time. SCSF 1000 Unit F2

Reproductive system

Reproductive organs of the male and female body responsible for procreation. The male reproductive system is located on the outside of the body. The female reproductive system is located inside the body. FOCC 1000 Unit C2


A standard form that is used when a specimen needs to be collected. A requisition tells staff what test is to be done, what specimen is needed, who the specimen belongs to, and the name of the doctor who ordered the test. The requisition should also state the date and time the specimen was collected. SCAE 1000 Unit E1


Negative feelings such as anger towards someone or something. Resentment towards elderly family members will influence your general attitude about the elderly. FOCC 1000 Unit C3


People who live in a facility such as a long-term care facility. People living in continuing-care facilities are called residents. RRHB 1000 Unit B1


An opposing force that interferes with the actions of another. The joint should not be forced to move beyond the point of resistance. BCND 1000 Unit D2


To come to an agreement or to solve a problem. To negotiate a resolution with a dissatisfied client you must be able to discuss alternative solutions and options. SCSF 1000 Unit F6


Being aware of and having consideration for another person's choices, ideas and beliefs. It is important to respect the individuality of each client you assist. PCCA 1000 Unit A1

Behaviour intended to show honour to or regard for another person. Caregivers need to understand and respect their client's beliefs and traditions. PCCA 1000 Unit A4


The process of breathing; pulling air into the lungs and pushing air out of the lungs, so the exchange of gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide) can occur. If you hold your breath and stop breathing, then you have stopped the process of respiration. FOCC 1000 Unit C2

A cycle of drawing air into the lungs (inspiration) and then expelling the air out of the lungs (expiration). One respiration is also known as a breath. SCAE 1000 Unit E3

Respiration rate

A measurement of the rate of breathing. One respiration is equal to one cycle of breathing in and out. Respirations are measured in breaths per minute and the normal rate is 16-20 breaths per minute. SCAE 1000 Unit E3

Respiratory distress

Difficulty breathing, often seen as rapid, shallow breathing, sometimes with flaring of the nostrils. A client who is in respiratory distress needs immediate attention. RRHB 1000 Unit B2

Difficulty breathing. Signs of respiratory distress include shallow, rapid breathing, gasping for air, rapid heart rate, or cyanosis. SCAE 1000 Unit E2

Respiratory system

The system that brings oxygen to the blood and removes carbon dioxide from the blood. The respiratory system includes the trachea, bronchus, bronchioles and alveoli. FOCC 1000 Unit C2

Respiratory therapist

A professional who provides respiratory therapy and treatment. A respiratory therapist is often a member of the support team. RRHB 1000 Unit B3


A period of rest or relief. Relaxation techniques can provide a respite from chronic pain that may accompany a terminal illness. SCSF 1000 Unit F3

Respite care

Supportive care that is provided to a client to allow the client's regular caregiver a break from responsibilities. Caregivers, such as family members, need to have access to respite care so they can take time to care for themselves. RRHB 1000 Unit B1

A temporary period of time when care and support for a client is provided by a substitute caregiver, so the regular caregiver is able to get time away to maintain her own health and wellness. Respite care is provided in different ways, from day programs and respite care programs offered by facilities, to respite care offered by agencies in the home setting. SCSF 1000 Unit F3


A device or a drug used to prevent the free movement and/or mobility of a person. Restraints can be chemical or physical. To use a restraint there must be a written physician's order in the client's chart. RRHB 1000 Unit B2

Restricted activity

These are activities that are considered part of the routine activities of daily living for clients who are stable and for whom the outcome of the activity is predictable. The HCA must have specific training for each client. An example of a restricted activity would be inserting a tube into the urinary tract to catheterize a client. RRHB 1000 Unit B1

Restricted fluids

Fluid intake is limited to a certain amount each day. If a client is on restricted fluids, the amount of liquid consumed must be observed and documented. BCND 1000 Unit D7


The part of the eye that contains the light-sensitive receptors for vision and is found at the back of the eye. The retina sends electrical signals to the brain through the optic nerve. FOCC 1000 Unit C2

Retirement home

A home in which older adults live, and which may offer some laundry and homemaking services to residents. Residents of a retirement home can usually perform most daily activities independently. RRHB 1000 Unit B1


To show respect. Respect for the dead and the greatest reverence for the human body after death are major principles of Jewish law. SCSF 1000 Unit F3


The ability to be returned back to a healthy state. Examples of reversible conditions include infection, bruising, and some tumours. SCSF 1000 Unit F2

Reversible cognitive impairment

A temporary condition that is treatable. Treating a reversible cognitive impairment will help the client's level of functioning improve. SCSF 1000 Unit F2


To change something so it is up-to-date. A client's care plan may be revised frequently if the client's condition and care needs are changing quickly. BCND 1000 Unit D1


A very strong, negative feeling about something. If the HCA shows signs of revulsion toward caring for an ostomy, the client may feel embarrassed or angry. SCAE 1000 Unit E1

Rheumatoid arthritis

A disease that causes swelling and inflammation of the joints and internal organs. Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive and crippling disease. FOCC 1000 Unit C3


The regularity of how often something occurs. Respirations and pulse of a healthy adult should each have an even rhythm. SCAE 1000 Unit E3

Rhythm of pulse

The pattern of regularity that is felt when taking a pulse. A normal pulse will beat at regular intervals; an abnormal pulse will beat at irregular intervals. SCAE 1000 Unit E3


To make fun of, or to humiliate. Never ridicule clients because of their behaviour; use a gentle and calm approach. SCSF 1000 Unit F2


Eight principles of personalizing a client's physical care, with each letter in the word 'RIDICUPS' representing one of the principles. R is for respect, I is for independence, D is for dignity, I is for individuality, C is for communication, U is for understanding, P is for privacy, and S is for safety. Care must be individualized for each client's preferences and needs; RIDICUPS is a method used to make sure the care is personalized. BCND 1000 Unit D4


The rights a client has when receiving medications and care. The rights a client has includes being treated with dignity and respect, being independent and able to make choices, and being informed and able to participate in decision making. SCAE 1000 Unit E6


Something that resists being moved. Stiff. When a contracture develops the affected muscles become rigid and difficult to move. FOCC 1000 Unit C2

Rigor mortis

Stiffening of the body that happens 2-4 hours after death. Dentures are placed in the mouth soon after death because if rigor mortis sets in it may be difficult to put them in later. SCSF 1000 Unit F3

Rollator walker

A walker that has wheels on all four legs, brakes, and a flat area between the legs that can be used as a seat. Some rollator walkers can fold up to fit in a vehicle and have a basket in which to put items. BCND 1000 Unit D2

Roller clamp

A clamp found on tubing that can be adjusted to regulate the flow of fluid through the tubing. Adjustments are made by rolling down a small round attachment on the clamp to decrease flow, and by rolling up to increase flow of fluids. The nurse regulates the flow of a tube feeding formula using the roller clamp. SCAE 1000 Unit E5

Rooting reflex

If an infant's cheek is touched the infant will turn toward the touch to look for food. The rooting reflex is seen in newborns. SCSF 1000 unit F4


Different shifts of work for a 24-hour day, varying from four to 12 hours each shift. In a two-week rotation, an HCA may be required to work some day shifts and some night shifts. RRHB 1000 Unit B4


The fibre content of foods. Roughage foods include vegetables and fruits such as spinach, apples, and lettuce. BCND 1000 Unit D3


Refers to how the medication is taken in or applied to the body. Medication administration routes include oral, rectal, topical, otic, ophthalmic, injection, and inhalation. SCAE 1000 Unit E6

Route of transmission

The mechanism or way by which microorganisms are transferred or carried from one place to another; that is, from the source to the host. Routes of transmission include contact, droplet, and airborne transmission. PCCA 1000 Unit A2

Routine urine specimen

This is a single, clean specimen. For a routine urine specimen the client is asked to void into a clean specimen container. SCAE 1000 Unit E1