Types of Long Term Care Options

Floridians are fortunate to have a robust continuum of care available for themselves or for aging parents and loved ones. At one end of the spectrum is home care and care provided in a community setting, such as adult day care. At the other end of the spectrum is nursing center care. In between are personal care homes and assisted living communities. Florida has a smaller percentage of seniors in skilled nursing centers than the national average – one-third fewer.

  • Skilled Nursing Centers (often referred to as Nursing Homes) provide 24-hour continuous health care services, as well as room and board. These health care services include basic and skilled nursing care, rehabilitation and a full range of other programs, treatments and therapies, such as occupational therapy and physical therapy. Nursing facilities also manage complex medical needs that require equipment, such as ventilators and IV lines.
  • Assisted Living Facilities provide an apartment-like setting that allows individuals to age in place and receive the assistance they need to maintain maximum independence and personal choice. These residences provide such assisted living services such as meals, laundry, housekeeping, transportation services, assistance with activities of daily living, and basic cognitive support services. Assisted living facilities must provide or arrange for other types of health care services, such as hospice services, occupational therapy, skilled nursing services, physical therapy, behavioral health services, home health services, and specialized cognitive support services.
  • Personal Care Homes provide a residential type of setting for individuals who do not need 24-hour nursing care, but may need assistance with such activities of daily living as bathing, dressing or using a bathroom. A personal care home may choose to help a resident obtain additional health care services if the resident’s health declines and they need more care.
  • Home Care Agencies provide non-medical services to individuals in their homes or other independent living environments. Home care may include assistance with self-administered medications; personal care assistance such as bathing, feeding and hygiene; assistance with housekeeping, shopping, meal planning and preparation, and transportation; and respite care including support for the family.
  • Home Health Care Agencies provide health care services to ill, disabled or vulnerable individuals in their homes or places of residence, enabling them to live as independently as possible. Home health care services include nursing care, home health aide care, and physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy services.
  • Hospice is a coordinated program of palliative and supportive care for those with a limited life expectancy. It can be provided in a nursing facility, assisted living facility, personal care home or the individual’s home, or at a hospice facility.

Each setting offers services tailored to the needs of the individual. The most important consideration when trying to decide what is right for you or your loved one is your unique situation. For example, elderly residents often have different needs than younger ones. Some residents, such as those with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia, may have different needs, preferences and desires that must be considered when selecting an appropriate facility. Families that live far away from loved ones, or who work full time, may make different choices than families who live next door. The most important thing is choosing what’s appropriate for your own situation.