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NorQuest Health Dictionary

A research guide focused on medical terminology


An opening from the uterus to the outside of the body. It allows for reproduction and the release of menstrual fluid during menstruation. The vagina provides the avenue for male sperm to enter the female and fertilize an egg for procreation. FOCC 1000 Unit C2


Not clear or not definitive. Do not use words that are vague when speaking to others. PCCA 1000 Unit A1


A truth that is supported by facts. If you believe something is true, but it is not supported by facts, then it is not valid. FOCC 1000 Unit C1

Containing facts and reasons that show a matter to be true. As an HCA, some complaints you hear will be valid while others will not, but you must accept all with tact and openness. FOCC 1000 Unit C5


A belief or attitude about the worth of a thought, an object or behaviour. Our values are expressed in the way we show concern and care for others. PCCA 1000 Unit A4


Wilful destruction of or damage to another person's property. Vandalism is a behaviour that can be a warning sign of a mental health condition in an older child. SCSF 1000 Unit F1


Blood vessels that carry blood to the heart. Veins allow the blood to flow in only one direction -- back toward the heart. FOCC 1000 Unit C2

Velcro fastener

A type of fastener that consists of two types of material. One is made from loops of fabric and the other is made from hooks of fabric so they attach to each other when pressed together. When using a Velcro fastener on the blood pressure cuff, ensure it is tightened to fit the cuff snugly around the upper arm. SCAE 1000 Unit E3

Venous congestion

A blood vessel overfilling with blood. When measuring blood pressure, tight clothing may cause venous congestion and result in an inaccurate reading. SCAE 1000 Unit E3

Verbal Communication

Information communicated with words; what you say. It is important to choose appropriate words during verbal communication. PCCA 1000 Unit A1

Verbal Report

Communicating to a person or group of people by speaking to them. Information needs to be organized, to the point, and based on fact. Verbal reports are sometimes used in a facility to give client updates and to share relevant information. PCCA 1000 Unit A1


To confirm if something is correct or true. Verify the type of transfer and the client's abilities before beginning to assist the client to transfer. BCND 1000 Unit D2


Small bones down the centre of the back that protect the spinal column. The vertibrae protect the spinal cord from injury. FOCC 1000 Unit C3

View /'point of view'

How a person sees, or feels about, a situation or an issue. Everyone involved in a situation should discuss it and all points of view should be heard. RRHB 1000 Unit B3


To go beyond set limits, agreements or laws. Boundary violations that can occur when working as an HCA include gift giving, creating a personal relationship, sharing personal information, gossiping, and breaching client confidentiality. SCSF 1000 Unit F6


A relaxation technique that involves refocusing the mind by imagining yourself in a calming and enjoyable place. Visualization can help control pain by distracting the mind and relaxing the body. SCSF 1000 Unit F3

Visual-spatial problems

Difficulties managing oneself within the environment because of problems correctly interpreting what is seen and where it is spatially located within the environment (colour, texture, location, structure, and dimensions). Visual-spatial problems for a person with Alzheimer disease can make colour patterns on a flat floor appear as if the floor has changing heights. A floor with a black and white pattern may appear as having holes in the floor (caused by the black tiles) so the client will not step there. SCSF 1000 Unit F2

Vital signs

Also known as the 'signs of life,' these are indications of how well a body is functioning. Vital signs include the pulse rate of the heart, the breathing rate, the body temperature, and the pressure of blood flowing through the arteries (blood pressure). SCAE 1000 Unit E3

Vital signs record

A legal document that is used to record pulse, temperature, respirations, blood pressure, and weight of a client. When using the vital signs record, make sure the correct date, time, and measurements are documented. SCAE 1000 Unit E3


Organic substances found in foods that are needed in small amounts to maintain health. If a variety of foods is eaten each day, following the Canada Food Guide, a person will take in the vitamins needed for normal body function. SCSF 1000 Unit F5


To urinate. Difficulty voiding a normal stream of urine is an abnormal condition. FOCC 1000 Unit C2


Having control over; the result of choosing an action independently. When you choose to get up out of a chair and go for a walk, you are controlling the voluntary muscles of your body. FOCC 1000 Unit C2


A lack of manners or lack of good taste. A client will not respect a caregiver who is vulgar. PCCA 1000 Unit A1


A feeling of being powerless and unable to protect oneself. When a client is being transferred in a mechanical lift she may feel scared and vulnerable. BCND 1000 Unit D2