Glossary of Terms

Generic name for porters or domestic staff.

Abbreviation or Topic



Activities of Daily Living


Benchtop Steam Sterilizer


Chief Operating Officer


Creutzfeldt Jacob Disease (CJD) The use of the term CJD in this policy encompasses sporadic CJD, Familial CJD, Fatal; Familial Insomnia (FFI), and Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker (GSS).  As CJD accounts for 95% of reported cases of TSEs, the term CJD has been used throughout this CJD policy as a proxy for all human transmissible spongiform encephalopathies in order to assist readability.


C. difficile associated diarrhoea.


Is the process, which physically removes large numbers of micro-organisms, and the organic matter on which they thrive.

Clinical area

Clinical area is an inclusive term meaning all areas including laboratories that generate and use linen and or clinical waste.

Community care team

District Nurses, Health Visitors, Treatment Room Nurses, Practice Nurses, Community Psychiatric Nurses and anyone involved in the patients' care in the community.


Consultant in Public Health Medicine

Contact: direct and indirect contact

Contact - spread via touch.
Direct contact - touching contaminated person and thereby contaminating self.
Indirect contact - touching surfaces or equipment, which have been contaminated by, in this case, faecal matter, thereby contaminating self.

Contact Precautions

Designed to prevent spread or micro-organisms via contact. This is achieved in three ways:
Using PPE, gloves and apron to prevent contact with colonised patients, their body fluids or contaminated items.
Decontaminating hands after removing PPE or after hands come into direct contact with a potentially contaminated source.
Keeping the environment and equipment clean.


Is the combination of processes, including cleaning, disinfection and or sterilization, used to render a reusable item safe for further use.


Detergent recommendation in hospitals is General Purpose Neutral Detergent.


Two or more episodes of loose stools within 24 hours. Loose stools in this context is, semi-liquid stools, which would take up the shape of any container.


Is the reduction of the number of viable micro-organisms on a device to a level previously specified as appropriate for its intended further handling or use.

Droplet Transmission

Spread via droplets expelled during coughing or talking. Infectious droplets land on a person's conjunctivae, nasal mucosa or mouth to cause cross-infection.


Domestic Service Room


Any piece of equipment or furniture which can serve as a reservoir for organisms and a possible source for transmission.


Any substance, whether processed, semi-processed or raw which is intended for human consumption, including drinks, chewing gum and any substance which has been used in the manufacture, preparation or treatment of "food" but excluding cosmetics, tobacco and substances used only as drugs (As defined by WHO).

Food Handler

Any HCW who is involved in the food services operation, e.g. patient feeding, transfer of food, serving food, cleaning articles or equipment which comes into contact with food.

Healthcare Worker (HCW)

A HCW is an employee of NHS Lothian, whether permanent, locum, agency or contracted, full or part-time. This includes students, voluntary workers, those on work experience, programmes and all carers.

Heat labile laundry

Fabrics which will be damaged by normal heat disinfection temperatures, e.g. personal clothing, wool mixtures

General assistants


With regard to standard precautions gloves must be close fitting. Non-latex gloves are recommended in all situations, e.g. nitrile or neoprene.


Gram Negative Organism

Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene is the name of several procedures to remove transient or transient and resident organisms from hands to prevent cross-infection. Hand hygiene can be performed by hand washing, or the application of an alcohol antiseptic rub to kill transient and resident organisms in the absence of visible soil on the hands.

High Risk Patients

Patients who if they acquired the infection would have a more severe outcome.  Patients include, neonates, infants, the elderly and patients deemed to be immunocompromised by their physician.


Infection Control Nurse / Officer / Team / Doctor

ICT approved area

Is an area where the ICT has undertaken a risk assessment of the facilities and practice and the advised safe system of decontamination is followed.

Invasive Devices

Invasive devices include urinary catheters, vascular catheters and wound drains. They increase the patient's risk of healthcare acquired infection and must be removed as soon as the patient's clinical condition permits.


Laundry refers to all articles for laundering and dry cleaning.

Loose Stools

Stools that are soft or fluid like.
Two or more episodes of loose stools are classified as diarrhoea.
There are instances when it is normal or expected to have loose stools. Therefore it is CRITICALLY IMPORTANT to assess the bowel habits of all patients and act accordingly.


Included in the definition of "Managers" in the responsibilities section of this policy are, clinical managers and those who manage more than one clinical area and who are responsible for either human or other resources.

Medical device

Any instrument, apparatus, appliance, material or other article, whether used alone or in combination, including the software necessary for its proper application intended by the manufacturer, to be used for human beings for the purpose of: diagnosis, prevention, monitoring, treatment or alleviation of disease; diagnosis, monitoring, treatment, alleviation of or compensation for an injury or handicap; investigation, replacement or modification of the anatomy or of a physiological process; and control of conception: and which does not achieve its principal intended action in or on the human body by pharmacological, immunological or metabolic means, but which may be assisted in its function by such means. (Source: EU Council Directive 93/42/EEC).


Multi-resistant Gram Negative Organism
Enterobacteracie: MRGNOs should be resistant to 1 or more members of 2 or more classes of the following antibiotics; aminoglycosides, 3rd generation cephalosporins, ureidopenicillin, carbapenems, monobactam or fluoroquinolones.
Pseudomonads: MRGNOs should be resistant to 1 or more of 2 or more of the following classes of antibiotics; fluoroquinolones, aminoglycosides, ureidopenicillin, carbapenems, 3rd generation cephalosporins (ceftazidime)
MRGNOs can be dispersed in the environment as droplets from patients with colonised endo-tracheal secretions when ventilators are disconnected.


Meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus


Meticillin sensitive Staphylococcus aureus.

Notifiable Disease.

Disease which by Law must be notified to a Consultant in Public Health Medicine (CPHM). It is the responsibility of the clinician to notify diseases. Notify via notification pads to: Health Protection Department.  NHS Lothian, Waverley Gate, 2-4 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh EH1 3EG.


Outbreak Control Team


Occupational Health Department

Operating Department

A suite of theatres and linking corridors and support rooms and facilities.

Operating Theatre

The room in which an operation takes place.


Outbreak affecting many persons in several countries throughout the world.

Pathogenic organisms

Organisms which are more likely to cause infection and cross-infection.


Bacterial extra-chromosomal self-replicating structures that carry resistance genes transferable from one organism to another.

ppm available chlorine

Parts per million available chlorine


Primary Care Settings


Pseudomembranous colitis.


Personal Protective Equipment e.g. gloves and aprons. Any device or appliance designed to be worn by an individual for protection against biological agents, e.g. gloves, plastic apron or visors.

Respiratory protection mask

A respiratory protection mask should be close fitting and designed to prevent the inhalation of viruses.  ICNs will advise on types available.


Reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences regulations.

Risk Categories for Surgery (Creutzfeldt Jacob Disease )

High Risk: Brain, spinal cord, posterior eye.
Medium Risk: Lymphoid tissue (vCJD only), anterior eye, olfactory epithelium
Low risk: All other procedures.

Service Assistant

Service Assistant (domestic or porter).

Sharps box

All sharps boxes must comply with the British Standard BS 7320.

Significant exposure

Referring to infections spread via the respiratory route - 15 minutes face - to - face contact.

Single Room

A single room should ideally contain the following; a wash hand basin, a dedicated hand hygiene sink, a shower and private toilet. Floors should not be carpeted but covered with a washable impervious material, e.g. non-slip lino or vinyl.


Standard Operating Procedure


Refractile, oval body formed within bacteria, especially genera of the family Bacillus sp and Clostridia sp, regarded as a resting stage. A spore can survive for long periods in the environment.


Sterile Service Department.


Is a process, which, if specified conditions are met, renders a device sterile, i.e. free from all micro-organisms

TED Stockings

(Thrombo embolic stocking) worn to decrease the risk of deep vein thrombosis.


Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) is a fatal degenerative brain disease, which occur in humans and certain other animal species. All diseases listed in "CJD" above and animal diseases such as BSE are included as TSEs

Theatre "greens"

Scrub suites made of a tightly woven fabric - they may in fact be blue or other colours.


Varicella Zoster Virus (Chickenpox).

Wipes (Alcohol)
Wipes (Detergent)

Alcohol wipes do not clean, and can damage equipment.  Over time they harden rubber and crack plastic.  Their use therefore, is limited in routine environmental decontamination. Detergent wipes clean rather than disinfect.  Detergent wipes are suitable for environmental cleaning (not for blood and body fluid spillages).

Last Reviewed: 22/06/2015