About Brain Injury

A Glossary of Terms


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Intracranial Pressure

Understanding Coma

Rancho Los Amigos Scale/ The Levels of Coma

Objectives of Neurosurgery

A Guide to Brain Anatomy

Palliative Care - A program designed to reduce the severity of symptoms and/or decrease their impact on the individual, and to improve the quality of life. [Click Here To Return To List]

Paraparesis - Weakness of the lower limbs. [Click Here To Return To List]

Paraphasic Error - Substitution of an incorrect sound (e.g. , tree for free) or related word (e.g., chair for bed). [Click Here To Return To List]

Paraplegia - Paralysis of the legs (from the waist down). [Click Here To Return To List]

Parapnasias - Use of incorrect words or word combinations. [Click Here To Return To List]

Parenteral - Not through the alimentary canal (gastrointestinal tract) but rather by injection through some other route, such as subcutaneous, intramuscular or intravenous. [Click Here To Return To List]

Parietal Lobe - One of the two parietal lobes of the brain located behind the frontal lobe at the top of the brain. [Click Here To Return To List]

Pathology - Interruption or interference of normal bodily processes or structures. [Click Here To Return To List]

Patient - One who is acted upon; an individual awaiting or under medical care and treatment. (Also, see Consumer and Client.) [Click Here To Return To List]

Pattern of Movement - Motion of particular parts of the body (such as the hand and arm) in a typical, reproducible, sequence and direction. [Click Here To Return To List]

Perception - The ability to make sense of what one sees, hears, feels, tastes or smells. Perceptual losses are often very subtle, and the patient and/or family may be unaware of them. [Click Here To Return To List]

Perceptual-Motor - Interaction of the perceptual abilities with motor abilities. [Click Here To Return To List]

Perseveration - The inappropriate persistence of a response in a current task which may have been appropriate for a former task. Perseverations may be verbal or motoric. [Click Here To Return To List]

Persistent Vegetative State (PVS) - A long-standing condition in which the patient utters no words and does not follow commands or make any response that is meaningful. (The use of this term is currently under review). See persistent unawareness. [Click Here To Return To List]

Persistent Unawareness- The transition of a person who remains unconscious from a state of 'coma' to one of 'vegetative behaviors' reflects subtle changes over a period of several weeks from a condition of no response to the internal or external environment (except reflexively) to a state of wakefulness but with no indication of awareness (cortical function). A patient in this state may have a range of biological responses at the sub-cortical level such as eye opening (with sleep and wake rhythms) and sometimes the ability to follow with their eyes. Normal levels of blood pressure and respiration (vegetative functions) are maintained automatically. The label 'persistent' is not applicable until the person has been unconscious for a year or more. Also called Coma Vigil. [Click Here To Return To List]

Personal Adjustment Training - Process of modifying behavior to conform to measurable criteria based on socially appropriate behavior; process of modifying behavior to enable one to adequately deal with one's environment. [Click Here To Return To List]

Phlebitis - Inflammation of a vein. [Click Here To Return To List]

Phonation - The production of sound by means of vocal cord vibration. [Click Here To Return To List]

Physiatrist - Pronounced Fizz ee at' rist. A physician who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation. Some physiatrists are experts in neurologic rehabilitation, trained to diagnose and treat disabling conditions. The physiatrist examines the patient to assure that medical issues are addressed; provides appropriate medical information to the patient, family members and members of the treatment team. The physiatrist follows the patient closely throughout treatment and oversees the patient's rehabilitation program. [Click Here To Return To List]

Physical Demands - The physical requirements made on the worker by the specific job/work situation. They include strength (lifting, carrying, pushing and/or pulling), climbing, or balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching and/or crawling, reaching, handling, fingering and/or feeling, talking and/or hearing and seeing. [Click Here To Return To List]

Physical Therapist - The physical therapist evaluates components of movement, including: muscle strength, muscle tone, posture, coordination, endurance, and general mobility. The physical therapist also evaluates the potential for functional movement, such as ability to move in bed, transfers and walking and then proceeds to establish an individualized treatment program to help the patient achieve functional independence. [Click Here To Return To List]

PICU - Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. [Click Here To Return To List]

Plasticity - The ability of cellular or tissue structures and their resultant function to be influenced by an ongoing activity. [Click Here To Return To List]

Plateau - A temporary or permanent leveling off in the recovery process. [Click Here To Return To List]

Policy - See Terms and Definitions Related to Insurance. [Click Here To Return To List]

Posey Roll - A bar placed on the wheelchair to prevent a person from standing up or falling out. [Click Here To Return To List]

Posey Vest/Houdini Jacket - A vest worn to keep the person in bed or in a wheelchair. This is for the person's safety. Many patients are also maintained in wrist restraints to prevent them from consciously or unconsciously pulling at tubes or to prevent injury to the patient and staff if the patient should become combative. [Click Here To Return To List]

Position Sense - The sensory awareness of the location and orientation of body parts without moving them. See Kinesthesia and Proprioception. [Click Here To Return To List]

Post Traumatic Amnesia (PTA) - A period of hours, weeks, days or months after the injury when the patient exhibits a loss of day-to-day memory. The patient is unable to store new information and therefore has a decreased ability to learn. Memory of the PTA period is never stored, therefore things that happened during that period cannot be recalled. May also be called Anterograde Amnesia. [Click Here To Return To List]

Postural Tone, Excessive - Greater than normal tone of muscles used to hold the body in ordinary positions such as sitting or standing. [Click Here To Return To List]

Posture - The attitude of the body. Posture is maintained by low-grade, continuous contraction of muscles which counteract the pull of gravity on body parts. Injury to the nervous system can impair the ability to maintain normal posture, for example holding up the head. [Click Here To Return To List]

Pre-Morbid Condition - Characteristics of an individual present before the disease or injury occurred. [Click Here To Return To List]

Pre-Screening - The process of reviewing all available pertinent data on referrals to determine the need for additional information. [Click Here To Return To List]

Prevocational Evaluation - An assessment, prior to work training, of the client's potential as a worker, giving special attention to one's work attitudes and habits, and evidence of personal responsibility. [Click Here To Return To List]

Primary Care Nurse - The nurse principally responsible for the nursing care of a given patient. The primary care nurse develops and implements a care plan, participates in conferences, collaborates with the patient, the rehabilitation team, and the family, as well as evaluating the outcome of care. [Click Here To Return To List]

Problem-Solving - Ability of the individual to bring cognitive processes to the consideration of how to accomplish a task. [Click Here To Return To List]

Problem-Solving Skill - Ability to consider the probable factors that can influence the outcome of each of various solutions to a problem, and to select the most advantageous solution. Individuals with deficits in this skill may become "immobilized" when faced with a problem. By being unable to think of possible solutions, they may respond by doing nothing. [Click Here To Return To List]

Production Work Evaluation - This is a method of evaluating clients through the use of actual industrial work brought into the evaluation facility. It is possible for the evaluation staff to vary all the customary conditions of the real job in an effort to discover difficulties that prevent the client from working effectively. [Click Here To Return To List]

Productive Activity - Can be classified into the following categories:

Prognosis - The prospect as to recovery from a disease or injury as indicated by the nature and symptoms of the case. [Click Here To Return To List]

Program Manager-Vocational Evaluation - That professional person who is responsible for the entire evaluation program of an individual client. This includes reviewing all referral information, orientation of the client, scheduling services, planning the individual program, maintaining integration and coordination in the program, maintaining a written case record, holding formal and informal conferences as appropriate, making the termination decisions, preparing the final report and followup. [Click Here To Return To List]

Program Standards - Requirements that are judged to be necessary for satisfactory operation of a program. In June, 1990, the Subcommittee on Standards of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM), Interdisciplinary Special Interest Group (ISIG) on Brain Injury proposed that standards could be conceptually organized into the following categories:

  • Residential
  • Day Treatment
  • Residential
  • Day Care
  • Vocational
  • Cognitive
  • Behavioral
  • Academic [Click Here To Return To List]
  • Prone - Lying on one's stomach. [Click Here To Return To List]

    Proprioception - The sensory awareness of the position of body parts with or without movement. Combination of kinesthesia and position sense. [Click Here To Return To List]

    Prosody - The inflections or intonations of speech. [Click Here To Return To List]

    Prosthesis - An artificial substitute for a missing body part, such as an arm or leg, eye or tooth, used for functional or cosmetic reasons or both. [Click Here To Return To List]

    Prosthetist - A skilled craftsman who designs and makes artificial replacements for missing body parts, for example, an artificial leg. [Click Here To Return To List]

    Proximal - Next to, or nearest, the point of attachment. [Click Here To Return To List]

    Proximal Instability - Weakness of muscles of the trunk, shoulder girdle or hip girdle which causes poor posture, abnormal movement of the arms or legs and the inability to hold one's head up. Strength of muscles of the hands or legs may be normal. [Click Here To Return To List]

    Psychologist - A professional specializing in counseling, including adjustment to disability. Psychologists use tests to identify personality and cognitive functioning. This information is shared with team members to assure consistency in approaches. The psychologist may provide individual or group psychotherapy for the purpose of cognitive retraining, management of behavior and the development of coping skills by the patient/client and members of the family. [Click Here To Return To List]

    Psychometric Instruments - Standardized tests (utilizing paper and pencil) which measure mental functioning. [Click Here To Return To List]

    Psychomotor Skills - Skills that involve both mental and muscular ability such as playing sports or other activities where practice or concentration is involved. [Click Here To Return To List]

    Psychosocial Skills - Refers to the individual's adjustment to the injury (and resulting disability) and one's ability to relate to others. Includes feelings about self, sexuality and the resulting behaviors. [Click Here To Return To List]

    Ptosis - Drooping of a body part, such as the upper eyelid, from paralysis, or drooping of visceral organs from weakness of the abdominal muscles. [Click Here To Return To List]

    Purposeful Movement - Motor activity with an apparent goal. [Click Here To Return To List]

    P.A. - Physician's Assistant. [Click Here To Return To List]

    P.T. - See Physical Therapist. [Click Here To Return To List]

    PTA - See post-traumatic amnesia. [Click Here To Return To List]





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