How to choose the right facility?

Assisted Living Facility

Assisted living facilities (ALF) provide full-time living arrangements in the least restrictive and most home-like setting. The basic services include, but are not limited to: housing and nutritional meals; help with the activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing, eating, walking, physical transfer, giving medications or helping residents give themselves medications; arrange for health care services; provide or arrange for transportation to health care services; health monitoring; respite care; and social activities. Assisted living facilities are licensed and surveyed by the State of Florida.

Bed Types:

  • Extended Congregate Care (ECC) – An ALF with ECC beds may keep residents who become frailer than would normally be permitted in order for the resident to age in place. For example the facility can provide total help with bathing, dressing, grooming and toileting, and can provide or arrange for rehabilitative services, along with other services. However, this does not include 24-hour nursing services.
  • Optional State Supplementation (OSS) – The OSS listing refers to the number of beds available for residents receiving Optional State Supplementation. This is a cash assistance program provided through the Florida Department of Children and Families. It adds to a person's income to help pay for costs in an assisted living facility, mental health residential treatment facility or an adult family care home. To read more about Optional State Supplementation, and other funding sources, view the Florida Department of Elder Affairs website.
  • Private – Private Beds refers to the beds available for private pay residents.

Assisted Living Facility (ALF) Specialty Licenses:

  • Extended Congregate Care (ECC) – An ALF with this license can provide extended congregate care services (defined above, under Bed Types).
  • Limited Mental Health (LMH) – An ALF with this license can provide limited mental health services. This type of license must be obtained if an assisted living facility serves three or more mental health residents. Services must be provided for the special needs of these residents, along with the basic services of an assisted living facility. A facility with a limited mental health license must consult with the resident and the resident’s mental health case manager to develop and carry out a community living support plan.
  • Limited Nursing Services (LNS) - An ALF with this license offers some limited nursing services as defined by law, but does not include 24-hour nursing supervision.

Medicaid Services:

  • Assisted Living Waiver – The Medicaid waiver program is for recipients who live in a qualified assisted living facility. It provides case management, assisted living services, and incontinent supplies, if needed. This can include intermittent nursing, attendant care, personal care, homemaker and companion services, therapy (occupational, physical, speech), behavior management, medication administration, attendant call system, specialized medical equipment and supplies, and therapeutic social and recreational services. To read more about this program and other funding sources, visit the Florida Department of Elder Affairs website.
  • Assistive Care Services – The Medicaid state plan is for recipients who live in a qualified adult family care home, assisted living facility, or residential treatment facility. Services include: assistance with activities of daily living (eating, bathing, walking, etc.), assistance with medications, shopping, making phone calls, and health support (observing the recipient’s well-being on a daily basis for any significant changes in appearance or behavior). To read more about this program view the Agency for Health Care Administration website.
  • Developmental Disabilities Medicaid Waiver – This Medicaid waiver program provides services to people with developmental disabilities to allow them to live as independently as possible and avoid institutional placement. Services are provided in a person’s home or in a licensed residential facility, as well as in places like community centers, businesses, or therapists’ offices. Services can include nursing, therapy (occupational, physical, respiratory, and speech), dietitian, personal care assistance, companion services, durable medical equipment, adult day training, behavioral and mental health services, dental, respite care, environmental modifications, personal emergency response systems, supported employment, supported living coaching, transportation, and others. For more information visit the Agency for Persons with Disabilities website.

Adult Day Care Center

Adult day care centers provide programs and services for adults who need a protective setting during the day. An adult day care center can be a freestanding program or services can be offered through a nursing home, assisted living facility, or hospital. The basic services include, but are not limited to: social activities, self-care training, nutritional meals, a place to rest, and respite care. Adult day care centers are licensed and surveyed by the State of Florida.

Home Health Agency

A home health agency provides services to patients in private homes, assisted living facilities, and adult family care homes. Some of the services include nursing care; physical, occupational, respiratory, and speech therapy; home health aides; homemaker and companions; and medical equipment and supplies. Along with services in the home, an agency can also provide staffing services in nursing homes and hospitals. Home health agencies are licensed and surveyed by the State of Florida.

If it lists Medicare and/or Medicaid under Certification Status on Facility Locator that means the agency can serve Medicare and/or Medicaid patients.


A hospice provides services in a patient's residence or in a hospice facility for patients with a diagnosis of a terminal illness. They provide a coordinated program of professional services, including pain management and counseling for patients; nursing, physician, therapy, and social work services; counseling and support for family members and friends of the patient; and other support services. Hospices are licensed and surveyed by the State of Florida.

Nursing Home

A nursing home provides nursing, personal, custodial, and rehabilitative care. Nursing homes, sometimes called skilled nursing facilities, are freestanding, which means they are not part of a hospital. Nursing homes are licensed and surveyed by the State of Florida.

Nursing Home Bed Types:

  • Community Beds - are nursing home beds available to serve persons in the community
  • Pediatric Beds - are community beds designated for use by children
  • Private Beds - represent the number of beds in single occupancy rooms
  • Rooms (2, 3 or 4 Beds) - represent the numbers of rooms that contain 2, 3 or 4 beds
  • Sheltered Beds - are nursing home beds located within a continuing care retirement community available to serve persons living in the retirement community

Special Services/Characteristics:

  • Gold Seal Nursing Home - The Governor’s Panel on Excellence in Long Term Care recognizes these nursing homes as meeting high standards and quality of care. The Gold Seal is awarded for a two-year period to those facilities that meet or exceed the Gold Seal standards, as mandated by Section.400.235, F.S., and 59A-4.201, F.A.C.
  • Special Programs and Services – 24-hour RN coverage; adult day care; Alzheimer’s care; Dialysis; Eden Alternative; HIV care; Hospice care; JCAHO (Joint Commission) accredited dementia care, long-term care program, and sub-acute care program; pediatric; pet therapy; respite care; therapeutic spa; tracheotomy; ventilator dependent; water therapy; weight training; and yoga.

Skilled Nursing Unit

Skilled nursing units are based in hospitals, either housed inside the hospital or in a separate building. They typically provide only short term care and rehabilitation services. The skilled nursing unit does not have a separate license because it is part of the hospital license. See the hospital definition for further information.