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Common Acronyms Explained

It's no secret that the worlds of healthcare and memory care can be full of confusing acronyms. While acronyms can help make communication more concise, a conversation full of them can also feel as if you are on the outside and unable to keep up!

In order to make conversation a bit easier, we have compiled a list of common acronyms you may come across as a care partner and what they mean. We have divided the list into categories based on what area or setting you may hear or see them used.

Are there any acronyms that are not included on our list that you run into often? Let us know!




Category - Care
Acronyms Definition What It Means
ADC/ADS Adult Day Center/Services
AL/ALF Assisted Living/Assisted Living Facility
CCRC Continuing Care Retirement Community (Also called Lifeplan Community)
CP Care Plan A document where you can summarize a person's health conditions, specific care needs, and current treatments
HCA Home Care Agency
LTC Long Term Care
NEMT Non-Medical Emergency Transportation
NH Nursing Home
SNF Skilled Nursing Facility
Category - Diagnosis
Acronym Definition Explanation
CVA Cerebrovascular accident Stroke
DLB Dementia with Lewy Bodies
Dx Diagnosis
FTD Frontotemporal Degeneration
LBD Lewy Body Dementia
MCI Mild Cognitive Impairment
MI Myocardial Infarction Heart Attack
PD Parkinson's Disease
PDD Parkinson's Disease Dementia
TBI Traumatic Brain Injury
TIA Transient Ischemic Attack Mini Stroke
URI Upper Respiratory Infection
UTI Urinary Tract Infection A bladder infection is a type of UTI
Category - Function
Acronym Definition Explanation
ADL Activity of Daily Living Daily self-care activities, including bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, continence, and eating.
DME Durable Medical Equipment Walkers, canes, shower benches, etc.
IADL Instrumental Activity of Daily Living Higher levels of functioning, such as cooking, cleaning, transportation, laundry, and managing finances.
OT Occupational Therapy
PT Physical Therapy
ST Speech Therapy Also includes cognitive training
WC Wheelchair
Category - Medical
Acronym Defintion Explanation
BP Blood Pressure
CPR Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Process of attempting to restore cardiac and/or pulmonary function in the event a patient’s heart stops beating and/or the patient stops breathing. It involves a combination of rescue breathing and chest compressions and often requires the additional administration of defibrillation if CPR alone is not successful.
D/C Discharge To unenroll or leave a service
DNR Do Not Resusitate Do not do CPR if a person's breathing stops or if the person's heart stops beating
EMS Emergency Medical Services
ER Emergency Room
F/u Follow-up
Fx Fracture
H&P History and Physical Process of asking patients questions about their current and past medical problems, medication history, allergies, family history, social circumstances, and symptoms before proceeding with a physical examination.
HIPAA Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 Federal law to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed
Hx History of
ICU Intensive Care Unit
N/A Not Applicable
NKA No Known Allergies
PHI Protected Health Information Any information in the medical record or designated record set that can be used to identify an individual and that was created, used, or disclosed in the course of providing a health care service such as diagnosis or treatment.
SOB Shortness of Breath
Tx Treatment
WNL Within Normal Limits
Category - Medication
Acronyms Definition Explanation
OTC Over the Counter
PRN As Needed
QD Once a Day
QHS At Bedtime
QID Four Times a Day
Rx Prescription
TID Three Times a Day
Category - Person
Acronym Definiton Explanation
LCSW Licensed Clinical Social Worker
LGBTQ Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning
LPN Licensed Practical Nurse
MD Medical Doctor
MSW Master of Social Work or Medical Social Worker
NP Nurse Practitioner
PA Physician Assistant
PCA Personal Care Attendant
PCP Primary Care Physician
POA Power of Attorney Person who can make decisions for an individual if they are unable
PWD/PLwD Person with Dementia/Person Living with Dementia
RD Registered Dietician
RN Registered Nurse
SLP Speech Language Pathologist Interchangable with Speech Therapist
SW Social Worker
Category - Resource
Acronym Definition Explanation
I&R Information and Referral
MA Medical Assistance (Medicaid)
SSA Social Security Administration
SSDI Social Security Disability Insurance
SSI Supplemental Security Income
VA Veterans Affairs








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