Massachusetts Senior Care Association


Glossary Of Terms

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) – Basic tasks essential for day-to-day functioning, such as: bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, and getting in or out of a bed or chair. The need for assistance in performing one or more of these self care activities usually indicates the need for some type of ongoing care or supportive housing services.

Adult Day Health Program or Adult Day Care – Program providing supervision, recreation and health care services for older adults during the day so that family members or other caregivers can work or attend to other responsibilities.

Alzheimer’s Unit or Alzheimer’s Care – A facility with a specialized unit or program designed to meet the needs of people with Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive impairments. Such programs usually feature specially designed, secure environments, structured activity programs and more intensive staffing and specialized training.

Assisted Living Residence – A housing option for older adults who need some assistance with activities of daily living, but do not require the level of 24-hour nursing and medical care provided by nursing facilities.

CARF Accredited – Indicates facility has been chosen to be reviewed by the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), a private accreditation agency, and been found to be in compliance with CARF quality standards.

Community Support Facility – Refers to residential care facilities (rest homes) licensed to provide care to individuals with mental health problems.

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) – A residential community for older adults that combines independent retirement living, assisted living and nursing facility care, usually on one campus.

Group Adult Foster Care – A state program administered by the state Medicaid agency that pays for some assisted living services for clinically and financially eligible individuals. These individuals usually have their room and board expenses covered by the state’s SSI-G program. 

Hospice Care – Indicates facility provides end of life care either as a facility service or through a local hospice program.

Hospital Skilled Nursing Unit – Nursing facility beds located in or on the grounds of a hospital. Sometimes called a Transitional Care Unit (TCU). These units provide short term care to individuals who have been hospitalized but need a period of medical monitoring and/or rehabilitation before returning home.

IV Therapy – Indicates facility provides intravenous therapies. 

JCAHO Accredited – Indicates facility has voluntarily chosen to be reviewed by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO), a private accreditation agency, and been found to be in compliance with JCAHO quality standards.

Medicaid – A state and federal health insurance program providing health care coverage for individuals with limited incomes or who have been impoverished by their medical expenses. Called MassHealth in Massachusetts. Medicaid pays for more than 70% of nursing home stays in Massachusetts.

Medicare – A federal health insurance program, Medicare, provides coverage for elders (65 years of age and older) and permanently disabled individuals. Medicare Part A provides coverage of inpatient hospital services, skilled nursing facility care (up to 100 days only), home health services, and hospice care. Medicare Part B helps pay for the cost of physician services, outpatient hospital services, medical equipment and supplies, and other health services and supplies. Medicare Part D pays for prescription services. 

Nursing Home Outpatient Rehabilitation – Indicates facility is Medicare-certified to provide physical, occupational and speech therapy services on an outpatient basis. 

Pediatric Care – Indicates facility is licensed to provide care to children and young adults with severe disabilities caused by genetic conditions or devastating illnesses or accidents.

Peritoneal Dialysis – An alternative to kidney dialysis that clears the body of wastes and restores electrolyte balance, that can be provided within the nursing facility or at home instead of at an outside dialysis center.

Post Acute Care – Care provided in a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center after hospitalization for injury or illness.
PT/OT/SpT – Indicates facility provides physical, occupational and speech therapy services. Also referred to as Rehabilitative Services.

Residential Care Facility – Facility licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to provide 24-hour supervision and supportive services for individuals who do not routinely need nursing or medical care. Also known as a rest home.

Respite Care – Short term care of an older adult or person with a disability in a nursing facility to enable relatives or others caring for them at home to take some time off from their caregiving responsibilities.

Short Term Stay – A stay of less than 100 days in a nursing and rehabilitation facility, for the purpose of regaining function and wellness after surgery, illness or injury.

Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility– Facility providing long term health care and community for frail elders,  as well as short term, intensive rehabilitative care for older adults and people with disabilities who have been hospitalized and need rehabilitation before returning home. Specialty care for individuals with physical and neurological disabilities is also provided by skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities. Half of those admitted to a nursing facility return to their own home.

SSI-G – A state-funded program that pays the room and board expenses of individuals who receive federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and live in assisted living residences that participate in the state’s Group Adult Foster Care program. 

Sub Acute Care – Goal-oriented, inpatient care provided immediately after or instead of acute hospitalization to treat one or more specific, active, complex medical conditions.

Survey Performance ToolThis Tool was developed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Massachusetts Senior Care Association to provide consumers with information on nursing facility inspection results. The tool measures a facility’s compliance with 44 federal standards over a period of three years, for a total of 132 standards evaluated. A perfect score is 132; the average score for all Massachusetts nursing facilities is 123.

TTY – Special telephone numbers for the hearing impaired.

Ventilator Care – Indicates facility provides care to ventilator-dependent individuals.