Lexicon of Terms related to the Integrated Palliative Approach to Care

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Like all health care practices, hospice palliative care has its own language and terminology. This lexicon of terms is designed to help those interested in implementing the integrated palliative approach to care develop a common language and understanding.

Click here for a PDF version.


For citation: Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, Lexicon, The Way Forward Initiative: An Integrated Palliative Approach to care, 2014.

Family

Those closest to the patient in knowledge, care and affection. The person defines his or her “family” and who will be involved in his/her care and/or present at the bedside. May include:

  • the biological family
  • the family of acquisition (related by marriage/contract)
  • the family of choice and friends (including pets)


Frailty

Frailty is a nonspecific state of vulnerability caused by changes to a number of physiological systems (see Aging), which may be related to a variety of physical, psychological, cognitive and social factors. Together, these changes lead to reduced function and strength, and affect the person’s resilience and ability to cope with any stress, such as an infection or disease or personal loss. Frailty is most commonly seen in the elderly but can also occur in adults and children who are seriously or chronically ill. Someone who is frail is at high risk of physical and cognitive decline, disability and death. Frailty can cause pain and discomfort. It can also limit people’s activities, cause them psychological distress and have a negative effect on their quality of life.