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 61 - 72 of 411 results.
Term Description


The provision of what is necessary for the physical and mental health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of an individual.

Care and support needs

The various practices and processes that a service puts in place to manage the assessed needs of the individual (service user).

Alternative term(s) not to be used : Care needs; support needs

Care manager

A senior manager responsible for the care and welfare of service users.

Care plan

An overarching plan developed to support a child's or older person’s health, personal and social care and support needs and provide guidance for staff.

Alternative term(s) not to be used : Individual plan; personal plan; personal care plan; support plan


A hard covering used to keep a broken bone in the correct position and protect it until it heals.

Cause of death (COD)

The disease or injury which started the train (sequence) of morbid (disease-related) events which led directly to death, or the circumstances of the accident or violence which produced the fatal injury.

Chemical restraint

Is the intentional use of medication to control or modify a person’s behaviour or to ensure they are compliant or not capable of resistance, when no medically identified condition is being treated; where the treatment is not necessary for the condition; or the intended effect of the drug is to sedate the person for convenience or for disciplinary purposes.


(especially of a disease or something bad) continuing for a long time.

Civil rights

Entitlement to equal social opportunities and equality under the law.

Clinical nurse manager (CNM)

A nurse with management responsibilities for staff and clinical care.

Clinical nurse specialist (CNS)

A nurse with specialist training in a specific aspect of care (e.g. skin integrity, dementia).

Clinical waste

The term used to describe waste produced from healthcare and similar activities that may pose a risk of infection, for example, swabs, bandages, dressings etc. or may prove hazardous, for example medicines.