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Group Care Facilities Program

Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County Environmental Public Health Program

Adults in a group care setting

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) is not a primary licensing agency and does not conduct any inspections at homes or facilities licensed by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD).  Anyone Looking to open a group home  needs to initially contact one of the following primary licensing agencies to obtain information on how to open or get licensed by that agency:

  • COVID-19 Update
  • Licensing
  • Rule Revisions
  • More Information
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Get the COVID-19 Preparedness Checklist (PDF, 1MB)

COVID-19 Update

Best Practices for Social Distancing at your business

On October 22, 2020 at Governor DeSantis’ direction, Florida Division of Emergency Management Director and State Coordinating Officer Jared Moskowitz issued Emergency Order 20-011 that lifts restrictions for visitation to nursing homes, assisted living facilities (ALFs), adult family-care homes, adult group homes and other long-term care facilities.

Emergency Order 20-011 requires all visitors to wear PPE pursuant to the most recent CDC guidelines, and those not making physical contact still must wear a mask. Per the Emergency Order, to accept general visitors, the facility must meet the following:

  • No new facility-onset of resident COVID-19 cases within 14 days other than in a dedicated wing or unit that accepts COVID-19 cases from the community;
  • No new facility-onset of staff COVID-19 cases within 14 days in the event that a staff person was in the facility in the 10 days prior to the positive test;
  • Sufficient staff to support management of visitors;
  • Adequate PPE for facility staff;
  • Adequate cleaning and disinfecting supplies; and
  • Adequate capacity at referral hospitals for the facility.

Read more.

 

Preparedness Checklist for Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Facilities and Long-Term Care Facilities

Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities can take steps to assess and improve their preparedness for responding to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This checklist should be used as one tool to develop a comprehensive COVID-19 response plan, including plans for:

  • Rapid identification and management of ill residents.
  • Considerations for visitors and consultant staff.
  • Supplies and resources.
  • Sick leave policies and other occupational health considerations.
  • Education and training.
  • Surge capacity for staffing, equipment and supplies, and postmortem care.

Long-term care facilities can use this tool to self-assess the strengths and weaknesses of current preparedness efforts. This checklist does not describe mandatory requirements or standards; rather, it highlights important areas to review to prepare for the possibility of residents with COVID-19.

COVID-19 Preparedness Checklist for Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Facilities and other Long-Term Care Settings

Things facilities should do now

Educate Residents, Healthcare Personnel, and Visitors
Provide Supplies for Recommended Infection Prevention and Control Practices

Florida is distributing safe and effective vaccines to Florida’s most vulnerable populations. Currently, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus (and avoid exposing other people). Here’s how:

  • Hand hygiene supplies:
    • Put alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60–95% alcohol in every resident room (ideally both inside and outside of the room) and other resident care and common areas (e.g., outside dining hall, in therapy gym).
    • Make sure that sinks are well-stocked with soap and paper towels for handwashing.
  • Respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette:
    • Make tissues and facemasks available for coughing people.
    • Consider designating staff to steward those supplies and encourage appropriate use by residents, visitors, and staff.
  • Make necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) available in areas where resident care is provided. Put a trash can near the exit inside the resident room to make it easy for staff to discard PPE prior to exiting the room, or before providing care for another resident in the same room. Facilities should have supplies of:
    • Facemasks.
    • Respirators (if available and the facility has a respiratory protection program with trained, medically cleared, and fit-tested HCP).
    • Gowns.
    • Gloves.
    • Eye protection (i.e. face shield or goggles).
  • Consider implementing a respiratory protection program that is compliant with the OSHA respiratory protection standard for employees if not already in place. The program should include medical evaluations, training, and fit testing.
  • Environmental cleaning and disinfection:
    • Make sure that EPA-registered, hospital-grade disinfectants are available to allow for frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces and shared resident care equipment.
    • Refer to List N on the EPA website for EPA-registered disinfectants that have qualified under EPA’s emerging viral pathogens program for use against SARS-CoV-2.

See more information about preparing for COVID-19 at long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

Related Outreach Materials:

What State Agency Licenses Residential Group Homes and Residential Facilities?

The Department of Health (DOH) does not license various residential group care facilities.Licensing is done by one of three state agencies referred to as the primary licensing agency.  The three primary licensing agencies for residential group care facilities are: 

Group Care Facilities Rule Revision

**On July 6, 2018, a notice of Rule Development was submitted for publication in the Florida Administrative Register (FAR) for Chapter 64E-12, Florida Administrative Code, "Community Based Residential Facilities." 

You may access the proposed revision of Chapter 64E-12, Florida Administrative Code, using the following link:  Chapter 64E-12, Florida Administrative Code (Draft Sample)

Direct any questions or concerns to Travis Morris via email at AskEH@flhealth.gov  or by phone 850-901-6498.

Food Hygiene Rule Revision

  **Chapter 64E-11, Florida Administrative Code, "Food Hygiene" was revised and became effective September 26, 2018.

**You may find the updated version using the following link:  Updated Chapter 64E-11, Florida Administrative Code