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Tō Tātou Pūkete/Our Health Profile Glossary

The glossary is an alphabetical list of select terms and brief explanations that have been used in Tō Tātou Pūkete/Our Health Profile. 

Acute bed days per capita is a measure of the use of acute services in secondary care that could be improved by effective management in primary care, transition between the community and hospital settings, discharge planning, community support services and good communication between healthcare providers. This includes access to diagnostic services. (National Service Framework Library)

Acute readmissions is the unplanned or unexpected return of a patient to the hospital after a discharge. NSFL 

Alcohol (ethanol or ethyl alcohol) is the ingredient found in beer, wine and spirits that causes drunkenness.What is alcohol? |

Ambulatory Sensitive Hospitalisations (ASH) are hospitalisations of people less than 75 years old resulting from diseases sensitive to prophylactic or therapeutic interventions that are deliverable in a primary health care setting. 

The annual median household income is the middle value in the range (from smallest to highest) of the total annual income of all households surveyed. Stats NZ

Antenatal care is the health care a pregnant woman receives before the baby is born.  It is sometimes known as primary maternity care. 

The average weekly household income is the total combined income for all members of a household who are over the age of 15 years and includes all sources of income.  This is then divided by the number of households surveyed to get the average value. Stats NZ

B4 School Check – is a free and comprehensive check of children’s health and development before they start school.  It is offered to all children in New Zealand between the age of four years and five years and 7 days of age.  Ministry of Health NZ

Body Mass Index (BMI), is a measure using height and weight that can help a person know if they are underweight, overweight or a healthy weight their height. Ministry of Health

Bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer or colon canceris a type of cancer that affects the colon/large intestine. Bowel Cancer NZ

Bowel cancer screening is a free, in-home, test called a faecal immunochemical test (FIT) which can detect tiny traces of blood in a poo sample.  If found, the blood can be an early sign that something is wrong in the bowel. Time to Screen

Breast cancer screening is a free test called a mammogram (an x ray of the breasts) which can show changes inside a breast before they can be felt.  People with breast tissue between 45 and 69 can be eligible. Breast screening | Time to Screen - National Screening Unit 

Brief advice and support to quit smoking is a rapid strategy that should be offered to all smokers during a new healthcare encounter. It includes advising smokers to stop and then offering them cessation support, such as a referral to a cessation provider or a prescription for cessation medicine. Ministry of Health
Cancer is disease where some of the body’s cells grow uncontrollably and sometimes spread to other parts of the body. Cancer Council
A cardiovascular risk assessment (CVRA), also known as a heart check, is a way for a nurse or doctor to help someone find out about their risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Heart Foundation
A cerebrovascular accident (CVA) is also known as a stroke. A stroke is a brain attack. A stroke happens when a blockage such as a clot blocks the blood flow to the brain, or when a burst blood vessel bleeds into the brain. What is a stroke | Stroke Foundation NZ

Cervical cancer screening is a test (called a smear test) that looks for abnormal changes to the cells of the lower end of your uterus (cervix). Treatment can be given before the abnormal cells develop into cancer. Cervical screening | Health Navigator NZ

Cervical smear is a test that involves collecting cells from your cervix which is the lower part of your uterus which is at the top of the vagina. Time to Screen

A computerised tomography scan (CT scan) is a special type of x-ray that gives a highly detailed picture of the organs and other structures in the body.  CT scans are used to diagnose and monitor many conditions and are usually done at a hospital or a radiology service. CT scan

Conversational te reo Māori is the level of te reo Māori language used by a speaker where they are able to have a conversation about a lot of everyday things. Stats NZ 
Current smokers: are defined as people who have smoked more than 100 cigarettes over their life so far and have smoked tobacco in the previous 28 days. Health Promotion Agency Smokefree
Dampness – is defined as when a dwelling feels or smells damp or has damp patches on the wall, ceiling, floor or window frames. Stats NZ

Dental caries (tooth decay, cavities) – are holes formed in the teeth when bacteria on the teeth breakdown down sugars which make an acid that dissolves the tooth. New Zealand Dental Association

Deprivation refers to having less of some of the basic supports that improve people's health and well being, compared to others.  These are sometimes referred to as the socioeconomic determinants of health. NZDep 2018 is an index of socioeconomic deprivation. It uses information from the 2018 Census that gives an indication of deprivation and looks at this in relations to where people live. Research Themes – Health Geography and Deprivation (

Diabetes: is a long-term illness where the body cannot control its blood sugar levels properly. If the blood sugars are not controlled damage can be caused to the body’s organs and other tissues. Type 1 diabetes is when the body has stopped producing insulin.  Type 2 diabetes is when the body does not use insulin properly.  Insulin is a hormone that helps the body keeping blood sugars at the right level. Diabetes | Ministry of Health NZ  & Diabetes New Zealand

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is defined by the NZTA. See Alcohol and drugs limits | Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (

Enrolling with a General Practice means signing up to be registered as a patient with that doctor or group of doctors.  A person can only be enrolled with one GP practice.  Patients who are enrolled usually pay a lower fee to be seen at the GP practice. Enrolment in a primary health organisation | Ministry of Health NZ

Exclusive breastfeeding is when pēpē/babies are only given breast milk and not given any liquids, including water or formula, or solid foods. Prescription medications can be given as needed. The Well Child

The first trimester of pregnancy is the first 12 weeks of the pregnancy. Services and support during pregnancy | Ministry of Health NZ

Fully breastfeeding is when pēpē/babies are given breast milk and a small amount of water but no other liquids, including water or formula, or solid foods. Prescription medications can be given as needed. The Well Child

A General Practitioner (GP) is a family doctor who can assess, diagnose and treat people of all ages in the community. General practitioner (GP) | Health Navigator NZ

HbA1C is a blood test that measures blood glucose over 3 months.  It can be used to diagnose and monitor blood sugar control also know has glycaemic control. HbA1c testing | Health Navigator NZ

Health literacy is the capacity to find, interpret and use information and health services to make effective decisions for health and wellbeing. Health literacy | Ministry of Health NZ

A heart attack (also known as a myocardial infarction) is when blood flow to the heart muscle is blocked. If the blood flow isn't restored quickly, the heart muscle will start to die. Health Navigator

Heart disease is a term used to describe lots of different problems with the heart. See the Heart Foundation for more information on different types of heart disease. 

Home and community support services are services designed to support people to continue living in their own homes and to maintain functional independence. Support services include personal cares, household management and palliative care when needed. Home and Community Support Services | Ministry of Health NZ

A household can be one person or two or more people to live together and sharing facilities (eg cooking, bathrooms and toilets) in a private dwelling. Dwelling and Household Estimates - Stats NZ DataInfo+

Household crowding is when there are more people living in a household than the house can adequately accommodate.  This can be measured in several ways.  Stats NZ uses the Canadian National Occupancy Standard (CNOS) which looks at the number of bedrooms for the number of people in the household.  It presumes that there should be no more than two people to a bedroom, but that couples and pairs of children, depending on the children’s age and sex, can share a bedroom. Stats NZ

Immunisation is a way of preventing infectious diseases through vaccination. Ministry of Health NZ
Influenza, also known as the flu, is an illness caused by different strains of the influenza virus. Symptoms can include fever, chills, aches, runny nose and cough. Sometimes it can be serious or fatal. Flu (influenza) vaccines | Ministry of Health NZ
Inpatient care generally means that a patient is admitted to hospital and stays overnight. Public hospitals | Ministry of Health NZ
A Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) is a midwife, general practitioner or obstetrician who provides primary maternity care for women while they are pregnant, and for a short time after their baby is born.(National Service Framework Library)
Life expectancy measures the average length of life (the average number of years of life remaining), at a particular age.  It is influenced by the patterns of mortality (deaths) and survival at various ages in a population. Stats NZ

Elderly people living in their own home includes retirement village residents who are not in units certified for aged residential care.

Long-term medicines are considered to be medicines that have been dispensed over at least 6 months.  They do not include unsubsidised or “over-the-counter” medications eg, that a person pays for in full or which are purchased off the shelf at a pharmacy.  This measure does not show whether people took the medication they had been dispensed. (Health Quality Safety Commission)

A mammogram is an x-ray of breast tissue. It is used to look for early signs of breast cancer. Time to Screen

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a type pf radiologic scan that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create images of the body.  MRI Scan

Mould - refers to the total amount of visible mould inside occupied private dwellings, based on an A4 sheet paper-sized are of visible mould. It excludes any mould that is not visible (e.g. mould inside walls). StatsNZ

Myocardial infarction also known as a heart attack is when blood flow to the heart muscle is blocked. If the blood flow isn't restored quickly, the heart muscle will start to die. Health Navigator

New Zealand Deprivation Index is an area based measure. It looks at levels of deprivation for people based on nine census variables to reflect eight dimensions of deprivation. Otago

Obese is a medical term for a person who has body fat above what is considered healthy. A person is considered obese if they have a BMI > 30. Ministry of Health

Overweight is a medical term for a person who has body fat above what is considered healthy. A person is considered overweight if they have a BMI  between 25 - 29.9 Ministry of Health 

Patient portals, also known as healthcare portals are secure online sites, provided by general practices, where patients can access their health information and interact with their general practice. Ministry of Health

Polypharmacy refers to a person’s use of multiple medicines at the same time.   Sometimes this can be beneficial, however, where the prescribing of multiple medications is inappropriate, this can be harmful and lead to poorer health outcomes. Health Quality & Safety Commission 

A Population pyramid is a graph which is used to describe the characteristics or structure of a population and show how a population is growing based on its shape. Stats NZ

Primary care relates to the professional health care provided in the community, usually from a general practitioner (GP), nurse practitioner (NP), practice nurse, pharmacist or other health professional working within a general practice. Ministry of Health

A private dwelling is a structure that accommodates a person or groups of people but is not available to the public. Stats NZ

A qualification is a formally recognised award for achieving an education or training goal that has required at least three months of full-time study. NZQA

Secondary care refers to healthcare at a more specialist level. This care often involves contact with a hospital. Southern Health NZ

Southern and Southern District – the terms Southern is used to refer to geographic area of the Southern District Health Board

Southerners – residents of the Southern District.

A Stroke is a brain attack; a sudden interruption of blood flow to part of the brain causing it to stop working and eventually damaging brain cells.  The effects can be devastating and may last a lifetime. A stroke is also known as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA). Facts and FAQs | Stroke Foundation NZ

Substance abuse is also known as drug abuse and refers to the use of both legal and illegal substances (e.g. prescription medication, cannabis, methamphetamines, heroine) too much or in the wrong way. NZ Drug Foundation

Sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) is when a pēpē/baby dies unexpectedly with no explanation. SUDI | Health Navigator NZ

Te Reo Māori is the indigenous language of Aotearoa/New Zealand. Te reo Māori

A Territorial Authority is defined by law as a city or district council (the Local Government Act 2002) New Zealand has 67 territorial authorities. There are 8 territorial authorities in the Southern District. Some territorial authority boundaries are coterminous with regional council boundaries but there can be exceptions. Stats NZ Geographic Data Service

A Triage category describes the urgency that a person needs to be seen and treated, based on the severity of their presentation. A scale used from 1-5, with category 1 patients needing to be seen more urgently than category 5. Emergency department triage | Ministry of Health NZ

Vaccine (or vaccination) contains a dead or weakened form of a germ that cannot cause the disease but is enough to make the immune system produce antibodies to fight it. Childhood Immunisation | HealthEd