Health care

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Health care

Health care (pronounced /ˈhɛlθ ˈkɛər/), also known as healthcare, is the maintenance or improvement of health via the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, recovery, or cure of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in people. Health care is delivered by health professionals and allied health fields.


The term "health care" is a compound of the words "health" and "care". The word "health" comes from the Old English hǣlth, which means "wholeness, a being whole, sound or well". The word "care" comes from the Old English caru or cære, which means "grief, anxiety, care".

Related terms

  • Public health: The science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. This work is achieved by promoting healthy lifestyles, researching disease and injury prevention, and detecting, preventing and responding to infectious diseases.
  • Primary care: Health care at a basic rather than specialized level for people making an initial approach to a doctor or nurse for treatment.
  • Secondary care: Health care services provided by medical specialists and other health professionals who generally do not have first contact with patients.
  • Tertiary care: Specialized consultative health care, usually for inpatients and on referral from a primary or secondary health professional, in a facility that has personnel and facilities for advanced medical investigation and treatment.
  • Quaternary care: An extension of tertiary care in reference to advanced levels of medicine which are highly specialized and not widely accessed.
  • Home health care: Medical and nursing care that is administered in the individual's home by healthcare professionals.
  • Palliative care: Specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses, focusing on providing relief from symptoms, pain, and stress.

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