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 97 - 108 of 411 results.
Term Description


An official who examines the reasons for a person's death, especially if it was violent or unexpected.

Coroner's inquest

A formal investigation into the circumstances surrounding a person's death carried out by a coroner.

Crash mat

A piece of thick soft material placed on the floor intended to prevent harm in the event of a fall.

CT scan

Computerized tomography scan: a medical test that involves using x-rays to create a three-dimensional image (appearing to have length, width, and height) of the inside of the body.

Alternative term(s) not to be used : Computed tomography scan


The attitudes, behaviour, opinions, etc. of a particular group of people.

Day services

Services provided with no overnight provision. Encompass a range of public, private, and voluntary provision, covering a wide spectrum of service user groups (older people, people with mental health issues, people with learning disabilities, people with physical disabilities, people who are terminally ill, pre-school children).

Alternative term(s) not to be used : Day care


Actions taken to address a person's agitated or heightened behaviour in order to relieve their stress or return them to baseline.


Unable to hear, either completely or partly.


The end of life.


To carefully review upon completion.

Decision-making assistant

A person who has the authority to help another person when they are making certain decisions for themselves.

Decision-making representative

A person appointed by the court to make certain decisions on a person's behalf if they are unable to make them for yourself.