The Lexicon for Social Care is an initiative by HIQA’s Chief Inspector of Social Service. The Lexicon provides a list of commonly-used words relevant to social care, along with a definition. The use of standardised language is important for clarity and consistency and all providers of social care are encouraged to use the Lexicon in their communications with HIQA. Below are links to useful documents as well as a search function for the Lexicon.

If you wish to comment or leave feedback on the Lexicon for Social Care then please click here or simply email

  • Guidance for providers on submitting notifications

  • Lexicon for Social Care (PDF)

  • Infographic about the Lexicon


Lexicon catalogue

Displaying 1 - 12 of 411 results.
Term Description

Absence management plan

The process to be followed to locate a person in the event that they are absent from the service without the knowledge of staff.


Mistreatment of any kind and includes the physical, financial or material, psychological, sexual or discriminatory mistreatment or neglect of a person.


Able to be entered or used by everyone, including people who use a wheelchair, people who are blind.


Something bad that happens that is not expected or intended and that often injures someone or damages something.

Accidental injury

An injury that happens without apparent or deliberate cause.


A place to stay or live.


The acceptance of responsibility for one's own actions.


A person who an allegation has been made against.

Activities of daily living (ADLs)

Those skills required to manage one's basic physical needs, including personal hygiene or grooming, dressing, toileting, transferring or ambulating, and eating.


Something that is done for the purposes of enjoyment or therapeutic benefit.


Symptoms or signs with a sudden onset that worsen quickly.

Administration (medicine)

Procedure related to management of drug administration.