Decrease in size of a tissue or organ due to inactivity.


Abnormal shortening of the muscle that causes resistance to stretching and eventually may cause a state of permanent flexion.

Calcium Resorption/Disuse Osteoporosis

Demineralization of bones that makes them brittle and easily fractured.

Pressure Ulcer

A lesion caused by unrelieved pressure that damages underlying tissue because of diminished perfusion.


the pressure exerted against the skin in a direction parallel to the body surface.


Mechanical irritation to the skin that occurs when it is dragged across a coarse or rough surface.


A general term for damage to the epidermis.

Cardiovascular Workload

Increases when patient is on bedrest related to the effects of the heart having to push blood against gravity.

Valsalva's Maneuver

Straining against a closed glottis. Often occurs when weak patients try to move themselves around in bed.

Reflex Bradycardia

caused by pushing or straining with mouth closed and breath held. This action stimulates the vagus nerve and can result in fainting or worse.

Orthostatic Intolerance

A drop in Systolic BP of 15 mmHg or more, or a drop in Diastolic BP of 10 mmHg or more and an increase in heart rate of 15%. This can happen when a patient goes from supine to a standing position.

Venous Stasis

Slow or stagnant blood flow in the veins of the lower extremities. Risk for clots to form (DVT).

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Clots in the deep veins of the legs. Signs include calf pain, increased calf circumference, and warmth. 50% of hospitalized patients are at risk.

Pulmonary Embolus

Blood clot that breaks loose and travels through circulation and enters the lung. Can be fatal.

Homan's Test

Actively "Forcing" a patient's foot into dorsiflexion to see if it causes pain in the calf. Discredited as a reliable test for the presence of a DVT.

Immobility's effect on respiration

Lung function is compromised, respiratory muscles weaken, and the ability to cough is decreased.


The collapse of alveoli due to hypoventilation -- distal alveoli are not refilled and they collapse as all of the air in them is absorbed into circulation.

Hypostatic Pneumonia

caused by stasis of secretions. Secretions accumulate and are not coughed out; excellent growth medium for microorganisms.

Trochanter Roll

prevents external rotation of the hip by keeping the hip adducted. A rolled-up bath blanket extended from lateral aspect of hip to mid-thigh.

Hip Replacement

Require abduction during early postoperative period.

Fowler's Position

head of bed raised. Preferred while patient is eating or when stomach tube is being inserted. Promotes lung expansion and ease of breathing.

High Fowler's

60 to 90 degree elevation


45 degree elevation

Low Fowler's

30 degree elevation


Entire frame of bed tilted with feet higher than head. Bed on a "slant." Used for shock or to facilitate lung drainage.

Reverse Trendelenberg

Entire bed frame is on a slant with the head higher than the feet. Promotes gastric emptying and prevention of acid reflux into the esophagus.

Supine/Dorsal Recumbent

Flat on back.


Flat on stomach, face down


on side, but further toward prone; one leg over the other. Can be left or right lateral. Left lateral used for enema administration.

Sequential (pneumatic) Compression Devices

Plastic sleeves containing air bladders and connected to an electric air pump. They alternately inflate and deflate with air to cause a "milking" or "pumping" effect.

Isometric (resistive) Exercises

tensing muscle and holding or applying pressure against an unyielding object. Increases heartrate and cardia output. Does not prevent contractures.

Isotonic Exercises

Muscle actually contracts and shortens. Most gym type exercises are this kind. Increase HR, cardiac output, blood flow, prevents contractures, build muscle mass and strength.

Range of Motion Exercises

Move joints through their maximum travel (don't force). Five repetitions per joint per session.


Bending a joint in the natural position of movement.


Moving from a flexed to a straight or neutral position.


Pivoting on axis. External (away from midline of body) Internal (toward midline of body).


Movement of limb away from the midline of the body.


Movement of a limb toward the midline of the body


Rotation of palm anterior (facing upward).


Rotation of palm posterior (facing downward).

Plantar Flexion

Flexion of ankle toward floor.


Flexion of ankle toward knee.


Movement of ankle away from the midline or laterally.


Movement of ankle toward midline or medially.


To move in a circle.


Paralysis of arms, legs, and trunk.


Weakness of arms, legs, and lower trunk.


Paralysis of legs and lower trunk.


Weakness of legs and lower trunk.


Paralysis of one side of the body.


Weakness on one side of the body.


An overwhelming, sustained sense of exhaustion and decreased capacity for physical and mental work at usual level.

Impaired Dentition

Disruption in tooth development/eruption patterns or structural integrity of individual teeth

Impaired Oral mucous membrane

Disruptions of lips and soft tissues of oral cavity.

Impaired wheelchair Mobility

Limitation of independent operation of wheelchair within environment.

Impaired Physical Mobility

A limitation in independent, purposeful physical movement of the body or of one or more extremities.

Impaired bed Mobility

Limitation of independent movement from one bed position to another.

Impaired Walking

Limitation of independent movement within the environment on foot (or artificial limb).

Bathing/hygiene Self-care deficit

Impaired ability to perform or complete bathing/hygiene activities for oneself.

Activity intolerance

Insufficient physiological or psychological energy to endure or complete required or desired daily activities.

Risk for Injury

At risk of injury as a result of the interaction of environmental conditions interacting with the individual's adaptive and defensive resources.

Ineffective Tissue perfusion

Decrease in oxygen resulting in failure to nourish tissues at capillary level.


Softening of the skin due to prolonged contact with water.

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