Defining the 10 Senior Care Options


It is rarely by choice that a family enters the senior healthcare maze. We are often thrown into the abyss due to a crisis brought on by an elderly loved one’s health crisis. We, at Bayshore, wish to educate our community regarding the various care options. Seniors and their families always have choice. Educate yourself to be the best advocate for your loved one when it becomes time to choose the best care options for the senior in your life.

Homemaker and Companion Agencies
Homemaker and companion agencies provide individuals to aid elderly and disabled individuals with general tasks. Homemakers provide assistance with routine household activities, such as cooking and cleaning. Companions provide assistance during trips and outings and may prepare and serve meals. By law, homemakers and companions may not provide hands-on personal care to a client, such as assistance in bathing or undergarment changing. They may not dispense medications.

Homemaker and companion agencies must be registered by the state of Florida and include their registration number in public advertisements. Some individual homemakers and companions are employees of agencies. Some are contracted agents. Individual homemakers and companions are required to undergo criminal history checks. Complaints against the agencies may be investigated by the state of Florida, but the individuals are not licensed or inspected by the state

Nurse Registries
Nurse registries act as employment agencies between an individual patient and nurses, nursing assistants, home health aides, companions and homemakers for services in the patient’s home. Each individual health care worker is contracted with the registry. Nurse registries provide nursing care services, but they are not licensed to provide physical therapy or other therapy services or medical equipment services. Unlike home health agencies, licensed nurse registries are not required to carry liability insurance. As the name implies, all licensed nurse registries must be licensed by the state of Florida and must include the nurse registry license number in public advertisements.

Home Health Agencies
Home health agencies deliver health and medical services and medical supplies through visits to private homes, assisted living facilities (ALFs), and adult family care homes. Some of the services include nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, speech therapy, and home health aide service such as personal care. Homemaking, companionship, and nutritional guidance may also be offered. Medical supplies are restricted to drugs and biologicals prescribed by a physician. Along with services in the home, an agency can also provide staffing services in nursing homes and hospitals. Home health agencies are required to be licensed and inspected by the state of Florida.

Continuing-Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)
Continuing Care Retirement Communities, also called Life-Care Communities, offer different levels of care based on the needs of the individual or couple. The care level ranges from an independent living apartment or house to skilled nursing in an affiliated nursing home. CCRC residents are guaranteed care for the rest of their lives. The CCRC residents move from one setting to another based on their needs but continue to remain a part of their CCRC community. Many Continuing Care Retirement Communities have an entrance fee prior to admission as well as a monthly charge. AHCA licenses and inspects the nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, or home health agencies that may be part of a CCRC. The Department of Financial Services regulates the CCRC contracts.

Adult Day Care Centers
Adult day care provides a protective setting that is as non-institutional as possible. Adult day care centers offer therapeutic programs of health services and social activities such as leisure activities, self-care training, rest, nutritional services, and respite care for a portion of a day. Some nursing homes provide adult day care services. Adult day care centers are required to be licensed and inspected by the state of Florida.

Adult Family-Care Homes
An adult family-care home provides a full-time, family-type living arrangement in a private home for up to five aged or disabled people who are not related to the owner. The owner lives in the same house as the residents and provides housing, meals, and personal services; however, services vary. Adult family care homes are required to be licensed and inspected by the state of Florida.

Assisted Living Facilities
An assisted living facility (ALF) provides housing, meals, and personal services. ALF services vary greatly in the types of residents served. For example, some accept residents who need assistance in bathing, others do not. All ALFs are required to be licensed and inspected by the state of Florida. Some ALFs are specially licensed to provide extended congregate care (ECC). This allows the ALF to care for residents as they become frailer in order for the resident to age in place. Some ALFs are specifically licensed to provide limited nursing services and/or limited mental health services.

Hospice services emphasize comfort measures rather than aggressive curative treatment. Hospice provides a coordinated program of professional services, including pain control and counseling for patients who have a prognosis of six-months or less to live. Counseling and support for the family members and friends of the terminally ill patient are also provided. Hospice services are predominately provided in the patient’s home. However, the services are also available in ALFs and nursing homes. Hospice providers are required to be licensed and inspected by the state of Florida.

Nursing Homes
Nursing homes, sometimes called skilled nursing facilities, serve both long-term residents and people who come for a short period for rehabilitative care (usually after a hospital stay). Some nursing homes also provide respite care, which is when a person comes for a short stay, to give relief to a primary caregiver.

A nursing home can be a freestanding facility or it can be part of a continuing care retirement community (CCRC). A CCRC allows residents to move from one level of care to another, as needed, and can include independent living, an assisted living facility, and/or a nursing home. Additionally a hospital can have a skilled nursing unit which includes designated beds within the hospital that serve patients who need short-term care and rehabilitation services.

Skilled Nursing Units/ Rehabilitation Facilities
Skilled Nursing Units (SNUs) are based in hospitals. They typically provide only short term care and rehabilitation services. Some SNUs are located inside the hospital, and some are located in a separate building. The skilled nursing unit is licensed as part of the hospital. They are regularly inspected by AHCA.