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 49 - 60 of 411 results.
Term Description


A rail or board along the side of a bed, for example one that connects the headboard with the footboard.

Behaviour modification

A psychotherapeutic intervention primarily used to eliminate or reduce maladaptive behaviour in children or adults.

Behaviour psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD)

A heterogeneous group of non-cognitive symptoms and behaviours occurring in subjects with dementia.

Behaviour that challenges

Where a person acts, intentionally or unintentionally, in a manner that causes discomfort or distress to themselves or others around them.

Alternative term(s) not to be used : Behaviour that is challenging; challenging behaviour

Behavioural assessment

A process conducted by a suitably qualified professional to identify, understand and manage a person's behavioural needs.

Bodily integrity

Bodily integrity is the inviolability of the physical body and emphasizes the importance of personal autonomy, self-ownership, and self-determination of human beings over their own bodies.

Body map

A graph depicting the front and back of a human body which is used to represent injuries or other relevant information.


An injury or mark where the skin has not been broken but is darker in colour, often as a result of being hit by something.

Alternative term(s) not to be used : Haematoma


Repeated aggression, verbal, psychological or physical, racial, sexual or relational, conducted by an individual or group against others.


A collection of buildings on one site that provide accommodation and recreational facilities.


The ability to make decisions.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation: a method used to keep someone alive in a medical emergency, in which you blow into the person's mouth then press on their chest and repeat the process.