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East London NHS - NHS medical terms
Category: Health and Medicine > nhs terms
Date & country: 28/01/2011, UK
Words: 245

Electroconvulsive therapy
In ECT a small, carefully controlled amount of electricity is sent through the brain of a person who has been given an anaeasthetic and muscle relaxant. This produces a mild seizure or convulsion. It is used for cases of severe mental illness, usually depression, where the patient has not responded to other treatments or medication. The Deparment o...

Emergency powers
The powers to detain a person for an initial assessment to determine whether the use of compulsory powers is appropriate.

Enduring Power of Attorney
An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is a legal document that enables someone to appoint one or more persons to manage their financial affairs and property, either now or in the future.

Episode of care
The period when a service user enters the care of the Trust to when they are discharged from all services provided by the Trust. This care could be, for example a combination of care provided by inpatient stays, outpatient attendances, a CPN, or use of services from an OT and a day hospital.

A person's normal mood state.

Judging the value of something by making a comparison.

Evidence-based medicine/practice
This can be known as evidence-based healthcare, evidence-based medicine or evidence-based practice. It involves using available evidence, particularly research, to plan how to treat specific conditions. The process aims to find a comfortable compromise between the evidence, clinicians' views and experiences and service users's views.

Evidence-based recommendations
A decision about management based primarily on evidence from scientific literature.

Exposure therapy
Exposure therapy is a form of cognitive behavioural therapy used to help people who have experienced traumas. It uses careful, repeated and detailed experience of the real or imagined trauma in a safe and supportive environment to help the person face and gain control of the fear and distress that was overwhelming.

Expressed emotion
If a carer has an attitude of criticism or is over-involved in the life of the person with mental illness they may be defined as having 'High Expressed Emotion'.

Family therapy
This form of therapy involves all relevant members of a family, placing importance on the family as a pathway toward helping to treat the patient.

First-degree relatives
First-degree relatives are those who share half your genes with you - i.e. mother, father, sister, brother and children.

Formal patient
This is a person who has been detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act (1983)

General Practitioner
A family doctor, usually patient's first point of contact with the health service

Genetic markers
A gene or DNA sequence having a known location on a chromosome and associated with a particular gene or trait.

A recommendation of good practice usually based on research evidence.

They are disorders of perception or a perception without a stimulus.There are various different types of hallucinations including; auditory (hearing sounds or voices), olfactory (smells), tactile (sensation), visual (seeing things) or gustatory (taste).The most common are hearing voices or seeing things that don`t really exist. Hallucinations are c...

Health Care Assistants
(can also be referred to as Health Care Support Workers) Health Care Assistants are non-qualified nursing staff who undertake assigned tasks involving direct care in support of a registered/qualified nurse. There are two grades of Health Care Assistants, A and B grade. A grades would expect to be more closely supervised, while B grades may regularl...

Health of the Nation Outcome Scales
HONOS is probably the outcome measure most widely used by English menatal health services. The scales are completed after routine clinical assessments in any setting and have a variety of uses for clinicians, researchers and administrators. They are designed to be used before and after interventions so that changes attributable to the interventions...

Home treatment team
A team usually consisting of a psychiatrist, nurse and social worker. The team provides a mobile service offering availablity 24 hours, seven days a week and an immediate response. The team provides a gate keeping function to hospital admission and enables earlier discharge from hospital.

(see Health of the Nation Outcome Scales)

Human Resources
This is a department found in most organisations that works to recruit staff, assist in their development (e.g. providing training) and ensure that staff work in good conditions.

Huntingtons Disease
Huntingtons Disease is a genetically inherited condition that causes both physical and mental problems. It also features alternating periods of aggression, anger, excitement and depression, and progressive loss of memory and personality (Dementia). These psychiatric disturbances may appear before the movement disorder or may develop later. Bizarre ...

Hyperactivity is marked by high levels of activity and restlessness. It can be treated by medication or diet.

This is a less severe form of mania (see mania) that may or may not require hospital treatment. Hypomania is usually a symptom of bipolar disorder (see definition). It may also result from illicit drug use.

It is a psychosomatic (see definition) disorder caused by a powerful psychological disturbance or need. Someone with it is usually completely unaware of the psychological basis of the problem. It is often impossible to convince the person that there is no physical basis for the upset, even after many investigations have ruled out the possiblity of ...

ICD- 10
(International Classisfication of Disorders) The ICD is a form of classifying mental health problems and assists clinicians in diagnosing problems. The number 10 represents the 10th edition of the book.

(see Information Management Technology)

Incapacity means that a patient does not have the ability to understand and retain information about their medical condition and their need for treatment.

Informal patient
An informal patient is a person in hospital voluntarily. Most people admitted to hospital are informal patients.

Information sharing
The responsibility of professionals across agencies to share relevant information to ensure that everyone involved in a person's care is informed.

Integrated Care Pathway
Integrated Care Pathways are a multi-disciplinary and multi-agency approach to mapping patients' care from admission through to discharge and ongoing care. The aim is to pull together all the information into one file that will make it easier for the clinicians involved to give the best care for the patient.

This refers to work or care that links across professional boundaries. For example, when doctors and nurses work together to provide care.

(see Named Nurse)

Korsakoff's syndrome
This is a problem that usually occurs in people who have had severe, long-term alcohol abuse problems. It is characterised by marked short-term memory loss.

Learning disabilities
These are impairments in a specific mental process that affects learning. The conditions can exist to varying degrees in different people.

Local Implementation Team
Local Implementation Teams bring together a wide group of stakeholders (see definition) in mental health, including service users and carers, to plan and oversee the development of mental health services in their local area. In future they will work closely with primary care, which is responsible for commissioning mental health services.

Mental Health Trusts provide services to several localities. Localities are areas that have distinct boundaries.

A temporary health or social care professional. This person does not have a permanent contract with the Trust.

Mania is characterised by a person feeling overexcited, elated, physically overactive and rapidly changing their ideas (scattered or tangential houghts). It is a symptom of bipolar disorder (manic depression).

Manic depression
(see Bipolar Affective Disorder)

(Genetic marker) A sequence of DNA that is associated with the presence of or vulnerability to a condition. The sequence is often not the gene actually responsible for the disorder, but is physically close to the responsible gene and so signals the presence of that gene.

Mental Health Act
(1983) The Mental Health Act (1983) is a law that allows the compulsory detention of people in hospital for assessment and/or treatment for mental disorder. People who are detained under the mental health act must show signs of mental disorder and need assessment and/or treatment because they are a risk to themselves or a risk to...

Mental Health Act Commission
(MHAC) The Mental Health Commission (MHAC) has a legal responsibility under the Mental Health Act (MHA) to protect the interests of all patients detained under the MHA in England and Wales.

Mental Health Act Hospital Managers
For the purposes of the Mental Health Act (see definition) Trusts are defined as Mental Health Act Hospital Managers. In practice, these are usually non-executive directors and/or lay people appointed by the Trust to carry out the Trust's responsibilities under the Mental Health Act.

Mental Health Minimum Data Set
This has been developed to collect person-centred information and record packages of care received by an individual. This is collected by the Trust and submitted to the Department of Health. The data reported is numbers not names.

Mental Health Review Tribunal
This is an independent panel of people. A detained person can appeal against their detention to this panel. The panel can discharge the detained person or make other recommendations. It is possible to appeal to High Courts against Mental Health Review Tribunal decisions.

Mind is a leading mental health charity in England and Wales. It works to create a better life for everyone with experience of mental distress.

Observing activity in relation to defined specifications, standards or targets, directly or through reports or indicators - did what was intended happen? For example, monitoring the effects of antidepressants to treat depression.

MRCPsych is the entrance exam to the Royal College of Psychiatrists and must be passed before a doctor can become a Consultant Psychiatrist.

Multidisciplinary denotes an approach to care that involves more than one discipline. Typically this will mean that doctors, nurses, psychologists and occupational therapists are involved.

Music therapy
This form of therapy uses music and therapeutic approaches to help people attain goals. These goals can be mental, physical, emotional, social and/or spiritual.

Named Nurse
This is a ward nurse who will have a special responsibility for a patient while they are in hospital.

National guideline
A broad statement of principle about what constitutes appropriate care.

National Service Frameworks
National Service Frameworks are issued by the government and provide guidance and standards for health services to be working towards. There is an NSF dedicated to mental health that sets standards around mental health promotion, treatment and service user involvement. There is also an NSF for Older People that has a section on mental health for ol...

Nearest Relative
(see Next of Kin)

Negative symptoms
These are psychotic symptoms characterised by a lack of expected behaviour, such as lack of energy, emotion, movement or motivation.

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome
Very rare condition caused by anti-psychotic drugs and characterised by high temperature, muscle rigidity and mutism. Requires emergency treatment as it has a high mortality rate.

Neurosis is used to describe anxiety disorders such as anxiety and phobias.

Next of Kin
The term next of kin is widely used, but there is no statutory definition. In practice the general rule has been to recognise spouses and blood relatives as next of kin. The Mental Health Act 1983 defines a list of certain people who can be treated as the 'nearest relative' of a patient. A 'nearest relative' has a number of important powers and fun...

(see National Institute for Clinical Excellence)

Nominated person
A person who is appointed to represent a patient in discussions in matters to their care.

Non-executive Director
A Non-executive Director is a member of the Trust Board. They act a two way representative. They bring the experiences, views and wishes of the community and patients to the Trust Board. They also represent the interests of the NHS organisation to the Community.

(see National Service Frameworks)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder
OCD is a problem characterised by obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour. The behaviour can take various forms such as cleaning or checking rituals in which the person will repeatedly clean themselves or their house or check, for example that doors are locked and/or electrical sockets are turned off. Dermatological problems are common in peopl...

In health services this refers to any change in a person`s wellbeing following a period of treatment.The expected outcome will usually be an improvement in symptoms or the resolution of a problem.

Outcome scale/measure
Outcome scales and measures are standard ways of assessing or evaluating the difference made to a person's wellbeing by a course of treatment. A person will usually rate himself or herself, or be rated by a health professional, against a set of questions or standards about their symptoms, feelings and wellbeing. This is usually done at the beginnin...

Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's Disease is more common in older people. The disease affects the connections in the brain causing them to malfunction. This results in movement disorders such as tremor and stiffness. The disease progresses steadily over the years eventually causing severe physical and mental disability. Symptoms can be treated with medication.

Patient Administration System
A computer system used to record information about the care provided to service users. The data can only be accessed by authorised users. PAS will soon be replaced by a newer system.

Patient Advice and Liaison Service
All NHS trusts are required to have a Patient Advice and Liaison Service. The service offers patients information, advice, quick solution of problems or access to the complaints procedure.

Patient Environment Action Team
A team that visits hospitals to check on cleanliness.

(see Primary Care Trust)

Personality Disorders
It is common for someone with a personality disorder to be impulsive, have high levels of sensitivity, be agressive, attention seeking and overly dependent on others. However there is a lot of debate about this disorder. The World Health Organisation defines them as 'deeply ingrained and enduring behaviour patterns, manifesting themselves as inflex...

A healthcare professional who ensures that medication that service users receives are safe, effective and appropriate.

The department that supplies medicines.

This is an extremely common problem in the general population. Phobias are irrational and uncontrollable fears of an object or situation that most people can face without anxiety. The object or situation will trigger feelings of intense panic and the sufferer will go to great lenghts to avoid them. Common phobias are fear of flying, spiders and enc...

(see Psychiatric Care Unit)

Pituitary gland
A gland in the brain which produces and releses several hormones.

Policies are produced by organisations to clearly outline what stiff must do, and not do, in ceirtain situations.

Positive symptoms
Positive symptoms refer to psychotic symptoms such as false beliefs and hallucinations (see definition).

Post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder that develops following an unusually threatening event. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares and intense distress when exposed to an object or situation that is related to the traumatic event.

Postnatal depression
Postnatal depression can occur any time in the first year after having a baby and most commonly occurs within the first six months. Symptoms include feeling low and unhappy most of the time, acute anxiety, irritability, sleeplessness, tiredness and a loss of enjoyment or desire to do anything. These can be made worse by feelings of guilt about not ...

Power of Attorney
(see Enduring Power of Attorney)

Primary Care
Primary Care is the care will receive when you first come into contact with health services about a problem. These include family health services provided by GPs, dentists, pharmacists, opticians, and others such as community nurses, physiotherapists and some social workers.

Primary care liaison team
A service working closely with GPs for clients who cannot be effectively managed in an ordinary primary care setting. The team takes a key role in the organisation and delivery of service working closely with statutory and non-statutory agencies and transferring patients between services as required. The team offers risk assesment of clients, advic...

Primary Care Trust
This is the organisation that looks after primary care (see definition). PCTs are commissioners (see definition).

A procedure is a series of actions taken in a definite and established order. This can refer to a treatment plan or to general activities.

A local policy or strategy that defines appropriate action (see Policy)

Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit
A Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is a locked ward in a hospital where some people detained under the Mental Health Act may stay. Patients are placed in PICU because they are assessed as being a risk to themselves or others in on an open acute inpatient ward.

A doctor who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of people who are mentaly ill. Psychatrists have undergone specialist training and may diagnose illness, prescribe medication and other forms of appropriate treatment. They also decide whether to admit people to and discharge from hospital.

This is a type of therapy that focuses on unconscious motives and conflicts. The use of dream recall and free associations can be used in psychoanalysis.

(see Drama Therapy)

Psychodynamic therapy
This is a form of psychotherapy in which the patient talks and the therapist makes interpretations about the patient's words and behaviour.

Psychologists have skills in the assessment and treatment of mental illness and psychological problems. Unlike psychiatrists they are not medical doctors, their skills include assessing cognitive functions (for example speech and thought) and providing talking interventions including psychotherapy and counselling.

The management of psychiatric illness using medication such as antidepressants or antipsychotics.

Psychosis or psychotic disorders involves distorted perceptions of reality and irrational behaviour often accompanied by hallucinations and delusions.

Psychosomatic Disorder
In some illnesses, psychological factors seem to play a particularly important part. They can influence not only the cause of the illness, but can also worsen the symptoms and affect the course of the disorder. These illnesses are termed psychosomatic disorders. Because psychological factors are important in evey illness, there is lack of agreement...

Psychotherapists help people to be in more control of their own lives by exploring emotional difficulties and helping them understand themselves and their relationships with others. They provide consultation and intervention on a one to one basis in groups.

The treatment of mental health, emotional and personality problems through talking with a therapist. There are many different types of psychotherapy.

Quality improvement
This is a general term for various methods of improving the quality of services that are provided to service users.