Home Care Overview

What is Home Care?

Home care is an umbrella term used to describe types of care services delivered to persons at home, both medical and non-medical in nature, to those who need assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), who are chronically or terminally ill, disabled, or are recovering from a hospital or nursing home stay

Types of Home Care

  • Skilled Health Care
  • Personal Care
  • Homemaker & Companion

Skilled Health Care

Who provides skilled health care at home in Florida?

  • Home Health Agencies
  • Nurse Registries

Home Health Agencies

Home health agencies provide skilled care services (by nurses, therapists, and social workers), and can also provide unskilled services (by home health aides (HHAs), certified nursing assistants (CNAs), and homemaker & companions) to patients in their home. Home Health Agencies may provide:

  • nursing car• physical, occupational, speech-language, IV therapy, and respiratory therapies
  • skilled services
  • medical social services
  • nutritional guidance
  • hands-on personal care services
  • homemaker companion services
  • home medical equipment

Home health agencies are required to be licensed and inspected by the State of Florida, and caregivers are required to have a background check either through Florida Agency for Healthcare (AHCA) or Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).

Nurse Registries

Nurse registries arrange and for skilled care services by nurses (registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs). They arrange unskilled services by home health aides (HHAs), and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and homemaker/companions to patients in their homes.

Health Care Professionals are contracted with Nurse Registry, and may provide:

  • nursing care
  • personal care help with ADLs
  • homemaker and companion services

Nurse Registries are not licensed to provide physical, occupational, respiratory, speech and language or IV therapy and medical equipment services.

Nurse Registries must be licensed by the State of Florida and caregivers are required to have a backgrounds checks through either Florida Agency for Healthcare (AHCA) or Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).

How to Receive Skilled Health Care at Home

Florida Law requires the following of Home Health Agencies and Nurse Registries that serve patients who need skilled services:

A doctor must sign a treatment order citing services needed. A Plan of Care (POC) must be created, giving details of how care will be given. A POC is not required for people receiving personal care for Home Health Aide (HHA) services without a doctor’s treatment order or for those receiving only homemaker companion services. (A patient has the right to be a part of the planning of care and to receive, upon request, a copy of the POC.)

For patients receiving skilled services, a health care professional licensed to perform these services must do an assessment of the patient’s condition.

The POC must, at times, be reviewed by the patient’s doctor and care must be coordinated and supervised by the home health care provider. Requirements vary depending on the provider so ask the provider and your doctor what to expect.

*Note: Not all agencies and registries provide all services.

Personal Care

Personal care services are services for those who need assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

  • bathing
  • dressing
  • grooming
  • eating
  • ambulation
  • transferring
  • toileting
  • hygiene
  • walking
  • help and supervision with medications, and other similar tasks

Who can provide personal care services?

  • Home Health Agencies
  • Nurse Registries

In the State of Florida, personal care is provided by home health aides (HHAs), and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) working for home health agencies and nurse registries.

Caregivers of agencies are required to have a level two fingerprint background check through the Florida Agency for Healthcare (ACHA).

Homemaker Companion Care

Homemaker Companion Agencies provide services like light housekeeping, laundry, meals preparation, shopping and running errands, and provide companionship.

Homemaker Companion Agencies are prohibited by State of Florida law to provide any hands-on personal or nursing care.

Independent Health Care Professionals

Although not administered by AHCA, an individual healthcare professional may provide services in the home, within the scope of his/her state license or registration and/or training. Health care professionals can include registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), respiratory and speech therapists, certified nursing assistants (CNAs), home health aides (HHAs), and homemaker
companions. If you employ an independent health care professional ask for proof of liability insurance and who will be responsible to pay household employment, income withholding and unemployment taxes. If they do not pay these taxes, you may be required to pay.

Home Care “Questions to Ask”

We have developed Yes/No “Questions to Ask” Worksheet where you can compare three different home care providers evaluating a variety of care services.