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NorQuest Health Dictionary

A research guide focused on medical terminology


A dose of medication compressed into a small pill. A tablet is an oral medication. SCAE 1000 Unit E6


Being sensitive to what is appropriate in a situation, so you don't hurt another person's feelings. Doing and saying the right things, at the right time, in the right place. Using tact when communicating to a new client will decrease the chance of offending him. PCCA 1000 Unit A1

Tarry stool

A black, sticky stool. A tarry stool usually indicates the presence of blood in the stool. FOCC 1000 Unit C2

Taste buds

Tiny nerve cells found in the tongue that send signals to the brain in response to chemical particles with which they come in contact. Taste buds can identify chemical particles that are sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. FOCC 1000 Unit C2


To pull tight. When shaving a male client, it is important to pull the skin taut in the area you will be shaving to prevent the skin from being cut. BCND 1000 Unit D5


A group of people working together to meet a common goal. As an HCA, you will work with many different team members to provide support to a client. RRHB 1000 Unit B3


A group of people working together and depending on each other to achieve a common goal. Teamwork can improve the quality of life for a client because everyone is working together. RRHB 1000 Unit B3


A non-stick dressing that may or may not have adhesive edges. A Telfa dressing is used when the wound has a tendency to stick to the dressing. SCAE 1000 Unit E4


A measurement of the amount of heat in the body. The normal body temperature of a human being is 37 degrees Celsius (C). SCAE 1000 Unit E3


Painful to touch. An inflamed and reddened area that is tender to touch may be infected. FOCC 1000 Unit C2


Connective tissue that connects a bone to a muscle. A tendon forms a strong connection between muscle and bone. FOCC 1000 Unit C2


Resulting in death. A terminal illness will result in death of the individual. RRHB 1000 Unit B1

Terminal zero

A zero after a decimal point (example, 4.0 mg). Do not use a terminal zero when writing a dose that is expressed in a whole number (1, 20, 34, 47, 50...etc.). SCAE 1000 Unit E6


The space or physical area a person needs to feel secure. Territoriality is listed as one of Maslow's security and safety needs. FOCC 1000 Unit C1


An area that an individual has claimed as their personal space. When working in a client's home, it is important to respect the client's preferences about where you go within the home because this is her territory. SCSF 1000 Unit F5


Male reproductive organs that produce hormones and sperm. The testes are located outside the body in the scrotum. FOCC 1000 Unit C2


How something feels when it is touched. Texture is one sensation of touch. The other sensations include temperature, pressure, and pain. FOCC 1000 Unit C5


An instrument used for measuring temperature. To measure body temperature, a thermometer is placed under the tongue, under the axilla, in the rectum, or in the ear. SCAE 1000 Unit E3

Thickening agent

A substance added to liquids causing them to become less watery. A thickening agent can make a watery liquid become as thick as pudding. BCND 1000 Unit D7

Thoracic area

The spine in the upper back, over the lung area. The thoracic area of the spine is connected to ribs that help protect the upper chest from injury. BCND 1000 Unit D1


A pulse that is weak and hard to feel. A thready and irregular pulse is considered abnormal. FOCC 1000 Unit C2

A pulse that is weak and hard to feel. A thready and irregular pulse is considered abnormal. SCAE 1000 Unit E3

Three checks/Checks

A method used when administering a medication. The HCA must check the appropriate seven "rights" of medication administration three times; before preparing the medication, before delivering the medication, and after delivering the medication. The three checks is a system used to reduce the possibility of making an error when administering a medication. SCAE 1000 Unit E6

Three-sink method

A method of manually washing dishes using a washing sink, a rinsing sink, and a sanitizing sink. When using the three-sink method, after washing and rinsing dishes you must soak them in a sanitizing solution of bleach and water for two minutes. SCSF 1000 Unit F5


A gland that releases hormones into the body to regulate growth and metabolism. The thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system. FOCC 1000 Unit C2


The condition of keeping an area neat and in order; everything in its proper place. HCAs should observe their client's physical environment for tidiness and safety hazards. RRHB 1000 Unit B1

Time management

The practice of organizing your time to perform tasks that are important and necessary. At work it is important to use effective time management to complete all necessary tasks. RRHB 1000 Unit B3


A small amount of a different colour noted on something. If the white part of the eyes is tinged with yellow, it could indicate the liver is not functioning well. BCND 1000 Unit D1


A group of specialized cells that perform a specific job. The four main types of tissue are muscle, nerve, epithelial, and connective. FOCC 1000 Unit C2

TLC/tender loving care

Giving care in a soothing and gentle manner. In this phrase, tender means gentle. Giving a client tender loving care will help reduce loneliness and improve her emotional state. BCND 1000 Unit D1


A willingness to be patient and accepting of others who are different from yourself. As a HCA, you will work with many different types of people and you must show tolerance for them. PCCA 1000 Unit A1


A sensory organ found in the mouth that is responsible for the sense of taste. The tongue uses taste buds to transmit the sense of taste to the brain. FOCC 1000 Unit C2

Tonic neck reflex

The infant will have her head turned to one side and one arm raised over her head, while the other arm is extended away from the body. The tonic neck reflex is also known as the 'fencing' reflex. SCSF 1000 unit F4

Topical medication

Applied to the skin or mucous membranes of the body. Topical medications include creams, lotions, ointments, powders, sprays, shampoos, and transdermal patches. SCAE 1000 Unit E6


Harmful or poisonous to the body. Any medication delivery errors could be toxic to the client, making him become very ill. SCAE 1000 Unit E6


The windpipe (tube-like organ) that allows air to enter the lungs. The trachea is a long tube of tissue that connects the mouth and nose to the lungs. FOCC 1000 Unit C2

Trade name

The name registered to a specific manufacturer. The trade name is followed by a symbol that indicates the name is registered and no one else can use it. SCAE 1000 Unit E6


A characteristic or feature that is identifiable. Hair colour and eye colour are physical traits we can use to describe a person. FOCC 1000 Unit C3

Transdermal patch

An adhesive bandage containing a pad with medication that is gradually absorbed through the skin and into the body. The administration of a transdermal patch is beyond the role of the HCA, so the HCA should not administer this type of medication. SCAE 1000 Unit E6


A procedure in which a client moves, or is assisted to move, from one place to another. A client can transfer himself using an assistive device such as a transfer board. BCND 1000 Unit D2

Transfer board

A smooth board a client uses to slide himself from one surface to another, such as from the bed to the wheelchair. Paraplegics sometimes use transfer boards so they can transfer themselves independently. BCND 1000 Unit D2

Transient aphasia

A condition that lasts only a short time and involves the loss of language abilities (aphasia). People experiencing transient aphasia usually recover completely. FOCC 1000 Unit C5


To express or explain something so another person will understand. If a client speaks another language, a family member could translate important words or phrases for you. FOCC 1000 Unit C5

Transmission-based precautions

Precautions, in addition to standard precautions, that are used to try to control the transmission of pathogens in clients with a known or suspected infectious disease which can be transmitted easily to others. Wearing a mask when caring for a client with a disease transmitted in droplets is a transmission-based precaution. PCCA 1000 Unit A2


Able to see through. With aging, the skin can become thinner and more transparent, leaving it more prone to tearing or bruising. SCAE 1000 Unit E4

Transparent dressing/Opsite dressing

A clear, self-adhesive dressing that acts as a barrier to protect a skin wound while it heals. A transparent dressing may have a build-up of fluid under it, between the skin and the dressing. SCAE 1000 Unit E4

Transport bag/Special plastic transport bag

A plastic bag with two pouches that is used to transport both the specimen and the matching requisition. The specimen goes into the zip-closure section of the transport bag and the requisition is folded and placed into the other pocket. SCAE 1000 Unit E1

Transverse colostomy

A colostomy that is located in the transverse colon. A transverse colostomy will produce soft, pasty stools. SCAE 1000 Unit E1

Traumatic brain injury

Injury to the brain caused by trauma such as an accident, fall, or wound. Cognitive impairment from a traumatic brain injury is different from dementia, so the care approaches will also be different. SCSF 1000 Unit F2


Involuntary shaking motion of the body or part of the body. Hand tremors can be a symptom of a nervous system disorder. BCND 1000 Unit D1


The cause of a behaviour. Some triggers include pain or fear, a noisy environment, a feeling of being overwhelmed when a task is too complex, and being unable to get others to understand your needs. SCSF 1000 Unit F2


Missing school without permission. Truancy, theft, and acting against authority are some warning signs of a mental health condition in an older child. SCSF 1000 Unit F1


The trunk is the main part of the body below the neck, but not including the legs and arms. When observing the trunk it is important to observe all areas, including the back, chest, and abdomen. BCND 1000 Unit D1


A person or institute that is responsible for managing the assets (property and belongings) of another person. The care plan should indicate if the client has a trustee managing her assets. BCND 1000 Unit D1

Tuberculosis (TB)

A lung disease caused by bacteria that can affect other organs of the body as well. Tuberculosis is transmitted through droplets released when talking, sneezing, or coughing. FOCC 1000 Unit C4


To place the ends of the bed linen between the top mattress and the bed frame. When making a bed, tuck the ends of the sheets under the mattress at the foot of the bed. PCCA 1000 Unit A3


A mass of abnormal cells that has grown inside the body. Tumours can be benign or malignant. FOCC 1000 Unit C4

Twenty-four hour urine specimen/24-hour urine specimen

A special, large container is used to collect all the urine voided by a client over a 24-hour period. The 24-hour urine specimen is collected to assess how much of a certain substance is in the urine. SCAE 1000 Unit E1

Two-piece ostomy appliance

An ostomy wafer and an ostomy pouch that are used together to form an ostomy appliance. The two-piece ostomy appliance allows the pouch to be emptied and changed without disturbing the seal of the wafer on the skin. SCAE 1000 Unit E1

Tympanic temperature

A measurement of body heat using a thermometer that is placed in the straightened outer ear canal. The tympanic temperature is taken using an electronic thermometer with a digital display. SCAE 1000 Unit E3