Glossary of terms

Adherence (see medication adherence)

Administrator - the person who is giving the patient their medication in any route.

Advance decision - (see advanced care directive)

Advanced care directive - An advance decision lets you, while you have mental capacity, make a decision about medical treatment(s) you would want to refuse, should you at some time in the future, ‘lack mental capacity’ to decide and/or express your wishes when the decision needs to be made. An advance decision does not have to be in writing unless you want to refuse life-sustaining treatment. In this case it must be in writing, signed and witnessed, and state clearly that you wish it to apply, even if your life is at risk.

Aspiration - the entry of material such as food or drink into the airways.

Best interest - The 'best interests' principle underpins the Mental Capacity Act. It states that: "An act done, or decision made, under this Act for or on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must be done, or made, in his best interests." This principle covers all aspects of financial, personal welfare and healthcare decision making and actions. Confirm that a capacity assessment has established the person lacks capacity to make this decision. If the assessment has not established lack of capacity you cannot proceed with a best interest’s decision.

Bioavailability - the rate and amount of drug absorbed into the blood system from the digestive system.

Bolus - a mass of food that has been chewed into a ball prior to swallowing.

Buccal - delivery of medication via the cheeks or mouth cavity.

Care plan - A care plan sets out how individuals care and support needs will be met. The care plan must set out: the needs identified by the assessment, whether, and to what extent, the needs meet the eligibility criteria, the needs that the authority is going to meet, and how it intends to do so for a person needing care.

Carer - A carer is someone who cares for a person who needs regular assistance because of an illness, disability or the inability to do some everyday tasks on their own.

Cascade prescribing - the prescribing of a medicine used to counteract the side effect of another medicine, which are misinterpreted as new symptoms.

Clinician - (see GP)

Concordance - the outcome of a consultation between the patient and the prescriber.

Cognitive impairment - brain disorder that results in impaired brain functions such as memory or thinking depending on the severity.

Community geriatrician - (see geriatrician)

Congenital conditions - conditions that are present from birth because of being passed on genetically or triggered by environmental factors.

Covert administration - the action of giving medication to patients in a disguised form; usually in food, so that they are not aware of it.

Dementia - brain disease that results in the permanent loss of functions such as thinking, memory, problem solving or language.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards process - The Mental Capacity Act allows restraint and restrictions to be used - but only if they are in a person's best interests. Extra safeguards are needed if the restrictions and restraint used will deprive a person of their liberty. These are called the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.

Dietician - is an expert in dietetics; that is, human nutrition and the regulation of diet

Dispersible - a tablet formulation that distributes itself widely in liquid.

Dentist - A dentist is a healthcare professional whose practice is in the field of dentistry. This involves the mouth, teeth, gums and related areas.

Dysphagia - the medical term for swallowing difficulties.

Effervescent - tablets which break down quickly and release bubbles in water.

End of life care - In medicine, nursing and the allied health professions, end-of-life care (or EoLC) refers to health care, not only of patients in the final hours or days of their lives, but more broadly care of all those with a terminal illness or terminal condition that has become advanced, progressive and incurable.

Enteric coated - a coating applied to tablets, which makes it resistant to the acidic condition of the stomach, allowing it to pass through to the small intestine.

Oesophagus - the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach

FEES - Fiber optic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing is a method for studying swallowing disorders.

Formulation - a mixture or structure such as a capsule, tablet, suppository, cream or solution amongst many others, used to deliver medication to the target site in a patient.

Geriatrician - A geriatric physician, also called a geriatrician, is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease and disability in older adults.

GORD - gastro-oesophageal reflux disease is where stomach acid leaks back up into the oesophagus

GP - a doctor based in the community who treats patients with minor or chronic illnesses and refers those with serious conditions to a hospital

Hard palate - a bony plate of the skull found in the roof of the mouth.

Human rights - Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world, from birth until death. These basic rights are based on values like dignity, fairness, equality, respect and independence and they are defined and protected by law.

License - permission and the documents relating to that permission. In terms of medication, it is the permission for the sale or supply of that medication to patients. This is also known as a marketing authorisation.

Marketing authorisation (see license)

Medication adherence - the extent to which a patient takes their medication as prescribed.

Medicines optimization review – This is a review of safe and effective use of medicines in health and social care for people taking 1 or more medicines. It aims to ensure that medicines provide the greatest possible benefit to people by encouraging medicines reconciliation, medication review, and the use of patient decision aids

Mental capacity assessment - The Mental Capacity Act 2005 states that a person lacks capacity if they are unable to make a specific decision, at a specific time, because of an impairment of, or disturbance, in the functioning of mind or brain. The mental capacity assessment, assesses the capacity of a patient.

Metabolism - a process within the body in which energy is produced from food.

Modified release - tablets, granules or capsules that have been specially formulated to slowly release the drug into the body.

Motor Neuron Disease - a group of progressive neurological diseases that affect the motor neurons responsible for controlling voluntary muscle movement.

Multidisciplinary team - A multidisciplinary team is a group of health care workers who are members of different disciplines (professions e.g. Psychiatrists, Social Workers, etc.), each providing specific services to the patient.

Negligence - behaviour that falls below the standards of normal care and attention that would be expected or is established, for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm.

Nurse - Nursing is a profession within the health care sector focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities so they may attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life.

Occupational therapist - An occupational therapist works with a client to help them achieve a fulfilled and satisfied state in life through the use of "purposeful activity or interventions designed to achieve functional outcomes which promote health, prevent injury or disability and which develop, improve, sustain or restore the highest possible level of independence."

Oesophagus - the tube that connect the mouth to the stomach allowing food and drink to pass.

Off label - the use of medication for an unapproved use, medical condition, patient group, dosage or form.

Optometrist - healthcare professionals are concerned with the eyes and vision.

Palatable - an acceptable or pleasant taste.

Parkinson’s disease - a degenerative disease where part of the brain becomes damaged over the course of several years resulting in body stiffness, weakness and shaking.

Pharmacist - healthcare professionals who are experts in medicines and their uses.

Pharynx - a structure in the head known as the throat.

Physiotherapist - healthcare professionals who work with patients who improve their movement and functions.

Pneumonia - infection causing inflammation of the lung tissue.

Polypharmacy - the use of multiple medication to treat medical conditions in a patient.

Power of attorney - A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets a person (the ‘donor’) appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to help make decisions or to make decisions on their behalf. This gives them more control over what happens to them if they have an accident or an illness and can’t make their own decisions (‘lack mental capacity’).

Quality of life - Quality of life (QOL) is the general well-being of individuals and societies, outlining negative and positive features of life. It observes life satisfaction, including everything from physical health, family, education, employment, wealth, religious beliefs, finance and the environment.

SALT or SLT - speech and language therapist - a healthcare professional trained to assess and treat speech, language, communication and swallowing problems.

Secretions - Secretion is the process of elaborating, releasing, and oozing chemicals, or a secreted chemical substance from a cell or gland.

Self-determination - a principle in international law that allows the nations to freely choose, based on the principle of equal rights and fair equality of opportunity.

Shared decision - Shared decision making (SDM) has been defined as: 'an approach where clinicians and patients share the best available evidence when faced with the task of making decisions, and where patients are supported to consider options, to achieve informed preferences”

Soft palate - the soft tissue at the back of the roof of the mouth.

Soluble - a formulation that evenly distributes itself in liquid. Sorbitol - an artificial sweetener.

Stroke - loss of brain function due to the blood supply to the brain being cut off.

Sublingual - SL - delivery route of medication that is absorbed under the tongue.

Suppository - a drug delivery formulation that is bullet shaped and inserted into the rectum.

Topical - medication applied to the skin including steroid creams

Unlicensed - medicines used outside of their terms of license.