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A carer’s guide to medical abbreviations

A carer’s guide to medical abbreviations

Carers UK tells us 6,000 people in the UK become carers every day, and that they need support. Whether you are an experienced carer or you are just finding your feet. We have collated a list of medical abbreviations that might help you, as we know this side of caring can be daunting and confusing, especially if you have no experience with medical care.

Caring for family or friends can be challenging. Adjusting to this change can be physically and emotionally demanding, particularly if you are new to your responsibilities. Becoming a carer will look different for everyone, you may help with cleaning, errands, cooking, or you may also medically care for someone. It is likely that at some point in most of our lives, we will have the responsibility of caring for a friend or loved one in some capacity. This really is a thing which can affect us all.

Medical Staff Abbreviations

Starting with medical staff abbreviations, these are people or organisations you may meet with or need to talk to at some point, depending on who you are caring for. Knowing who you are interacting with can help you feel more confident and ease the difficulties of medical care on someone’s behalf.

It is important to note that abbreviations can differ from place to place, and some abbreviations can also mean different things. If you are struggling to understand medical abbreviations and need advice or clarification, contact your GP.

  • AHP – Allied Health Professional
  • AP – Assistant Practitioner
  • ACT – Acute Care Team
  • BMA – British Medical Association
  • CAU – Child & Adolescent unit
  • CCT – Community Care Team
  • CPN – Chief Psychiatric Nurse
  • CDU – Clinical Decision Unit
  • CMO – Chief Medical Officer
  • CMHT – Community Mental Health Team
  • CAMHS – Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services
  • CC – Care Co-ordinator
  • CLN – Clinical Lead Nurse
  • CMNH – Community Mental Health Nurse
  • DN – District Nurse
  • DHS – Family Health Services
  • EAU – Emergency Assessment Unit
  • FHS – Family Health Services
  • FNP – Family Nurse Practitioner
  • GSCC – General social care council
  • HCA – Healthcare Assistant
  • HSCIC – Health & Social Care Information Centre
  • ICT – Integrated Care Team
  • IPN – Infection Prevention Nurse
  • LA – Local Authority
  • MHLT – Mental Health Liaison Team
  • NA – Nurse Assistant
  • NP – Nurse Practitioner
  • OT – Occupational Therapist
  • PAS – Patient Administration Service
  • PALS – Patient Advice & Liaison Service
  • PCA – Patient Care Assistant
  • PCT – Primary Care Trust
  • PTS – Psychological therapies service
  • RN – Registered Nurse
  • RNLD – Learning Disability Nurse
  • RO – Responsible Officer
  • RMN – Registered Mental Health Nurse
  • SLT – Speech & Language Therapist
  • SpR – Specialist Registrar
  • SN – Staff Nurse
  • UCC – Urgent Care Centre

Common Medical Abbreviations

Caring for someone with extra medical needs is complex. You may feel overwhelmed with the amount of information available and you are likely to have many questions. It is natural to feel this way, as you want the best for the people you care for.

If you are struggling to read someone’s medical records, or are researching their condition, you may come across some information you feel like you need to be a doctor to understand. Not to worry, here is a list of common medical abbreviations used by the NHS and other medical staff to help you understand the things you might come across as a carer to help you feel more confident.


  • AAA – Aortic Abdominal Aneurysm
  • AAND – Allow A Natural Death
  • A.C – Before Meals
  • ACS – Acute Cardiac Syndrome
  • AF – Atrial Fibrillation
  • ADM – Admission
  • ASI – Appointment Slot Issue
  • AUR – Acute Urinary Retention
  • ATSP – Asked To See Patient
  • BPD – Borderline Personality Disorder
  • BD – Twice A Day
  • BMI – Body Mass Index
  • BP – Blood Pressure
  • BLS – Basic Life Support
  • CVP – Central Venus Pressure
  • CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • CAUTI – Catheter Associated Urinary Tract Infection
  • CCH – Care Closer To Home
  • CHC – Continuing Health Care
  • CHD – Coronary Heart Disease
  • CIBH – Change In Bowel Habits
  • CMD – Common Mental Disorder
  • CVA – Cerebrovascular Accident (Stroke)
  • Dx – Diagnosis
  • DVT – Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • DIB – Difficulty In Breathing
  • DNA – Did Not Attend
  • DNR – Do Not Resuscitate
  • EI – Early Intervention
  • ECG – Electrocardiogram
  • ENT – Ears, Nose, And Throat
  • EOLC – End Of Life Care
  • EPS – Electronic Prescription Service
  • FBC – Full Blood Count
  • GAD – Generalised Anxiety Disorder
  • H/O – History Of
  • HX – History
  • HTT – Home Treatment Team


  • i -1 Tablet, ii -2 Tablets, iii -3 Tablets
  • IX – Investigations
  • IHA – Initial Health Assessment
  • IP – Inpatient
  • LRTI – Lower Respiratory Tract Infection
  • LTC – Long Term Conditions
  • LFT – Liver Function Test
  • MCA – Mental Capacity Act
  • MFFD – Medically Fit For Discharge
  • MUR – Medicines Use Review
  • MSK – Musculoskeletal
  • NAD – No Abnormality Discovered
  • NBM – Nil By Mouth
  • Nocte – Every Night
  • NG – Nasogastric
  • NKDA – No Known Drug Allergies
  • OP – Outpatient
  • OTC – Over The Counter
  • O.D – Once A Day
  • O/E – On Examination
  • PAR – Patient At Risk
  • PE – Pulmonary Embolism
  • PMH – Past Medical History
  • PRF – Patient Report Form
  • PRN – As Required (On a prescription)
  • PYLL – Potential Years Of Life Lost
  • P.C – After Food
  • P.O – Orally/ By Mouth
  • P.R – Rectally
  • PU – Passed Urine
  • PT – Physiotherapy
  • QDS – Four Times A Day
  • ROM – Range Of Movement
  • RTT – Referral To Treatment
  • RX – Treatment
  • SEN – Special Educational Need
  • SLT – Speech & Language Therapy
  • SOB – Shortness Of Breath
  • TDS – Three Times A Day
  • TFT – Thyroid Function Test
  • THR – Total Hip Replacement
  • TIA – Transient Ischaemic Attack (“Mini” Stroke)
  • TTO – To Take Out (Drugs On Discharge From Hospital)
  • TTA – To Take Away (UK Medications Supplied On Discharge)
  • TTOM – To Take Out Medicine
  • U.D – As Directed
  • UTI – Urinary Tract Infection
  • VTE – Venus Thromboembolism
  • Wt – Weight
  • WIC – Walk In Centre

Easing The Strain On Carers

As well as the medical jargon involved in caring for someone, carers also face physical challenges in their daily lives, helping others with their mobility, hygiene, and cooking. These are some products that are commonly used by carers and in care homes, which help with these challenges.

Slipper socksmedical abbreviations

Slipper socks are used in hospitals to protect patients from slipping, they are also popular with recently discharged hospital patients, elderly people, people with dementia and other vulnerable individuals. Available in single tread and double tread, and in sizes from XS-XXXL, there are slipper socks to suit everyone. They can provide the carer with peace of mind and the give the individual some independence.

To view this product, click here.

medical abbreviations Cellular blankets

These types of blankets are used frequently in hospitals and care homes. Cellular blankets are woven with cell-like holes in the pattern. The holes in the blanket allow air to move into the fibres, this makes them ideal for the warmer months. Cellular blankets can be lightweight for the summer, and you can use multiple blankets in the winter for warmth.

To view this product, click here.

bed ladder strapBed ladder straps

Bed ladder straps are useful for the elderly or infirm to be able to sit up in bed when they desire, without the help of others, which can give someone a sense of independence. This is beneficial for them and for yourself. When you are busy with other tasks, or cannot be in the room, patient handling accessories such as this can relieve some of the pressure you may be feeling.  

To view this product, click here.

rota cushionRota cushion

A rota cushion allows a patient to be effortlessly rotated in a smooth motion to face a different direction without any pain or twisting of the body. These discs are used by nurses, physiotherapists, and nursing home staff. They can be purchased in multiple sizes for whatever your needs are.

To view this product, click here.

More Resources

If you are looking for extra support, the NHS has excellent online resources to aid you in your responsibilities. You can find information on medications, caring allowances, making decisions on behalf of others and much more information. Click here to check out those resources.


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[1] Carer data

[2] Abbreviation data


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