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alternative medicine

approaches to health and illness that fall outside the medical model and treatments that occur outside of traditional institutions such as clinics, doctors' offices, and hospitals

assisted dying

actions that help a terminally ill person die without prolonged suffering


comprehensive list of medical services and their costs, used for negotiating with HMOs

complementary medicine

treatments and therapies that fall outside the evidence-based, medical model

cultural competence

possessing skills, knowledge, and attitudes that facilitate communication with people from other cultures

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)

manual published by the American Psychiatric Association that lists and classifies all conditions considered to be mental disorders

health maintenance organization (HMO)

organization that delivers medicine through prepaid contracts and negotiated fees

hospice care

supportive end-of-life care for terminally ill patients, with the goal of keeping patients comfortable and free of pain

Kübler-Ross stages of grief

five stages individuals go through when they understand that they or a loved one has a terminal illness

living will

legal document expressing a person's desires regarding end-of-life decisions

managed care

health insurance system that creates contracts with networks of health care providers and approves or denies care

medical model

scientific, evidence-based approach to medical treatment


increasing tendency to define more conditions and behaviors as illnesses

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)

legislation seeking to extend health insurance coverage to more Americans, including numerous provisions such as prohibiting denial of coverage based on preexisting health conditions, as well as subsidies (funding) to help some people pay for coverage

physician-assisted suicide

process by which a doctor knowingly helps a patient die

power of attorney

legal authority to make important decisions on another person's behalf

right to die

right to choose to end one's life because of incurable illness and suffering

sick role

social role people play when they are ill, entailing rights and responsibilities society gives to those who are sick

social construct

idea that has been created and accepted by a society

social role

socially defined expectation of an individual in a given status or social position

socioeconomic status (SES)

combined measure of economic and social ranking based on a person's income, education, and occupation

theory of fundamental causes of disease

idea that disadvantages associated with lower social status lead to poor health