How to Start an Adult Day Care in Georgia

Thirteen states in the U.S., including Georgia, have no license or certification requirement to open an adult day care facility. Rules proposed by the Georgia Legislature have not been implemented due to lack of funding, so they are currently voluntary. The Georgia Division of Aging has standards that must be followed for those running adult day care under contract from the Area Agencies on Aging. Georgia recognizes two types of adult day care: social day care to alleviate social isolation among the elderly and medical day care that provides medical supervision.

Determine the hours of operation for the adult day care facility. Facilities must operate fewer than 24 hours per day to be classified as an adult day care center. The hours of operation should reflect the needs of the community and the client/caretakers who are the target group for the facility's services.

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Write a program description detailing the program goals. The goals should include fees charged, incident-reporting procedures if an event in the facility affects the health, safety or welfare of participants, procedures for handling a medical emergency, follow-ups for unexplained absences, and release of information about participants.

Develop a record maintenance system to keep accurate records. Records should include staff personnel records, participant attendance records, and transportation records. The records should be kept for a minimum of five years according to Georgia record retention requirements.

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Provide meals to each participant in the adult day care program for 5 or more hours per day. Lunch should be served between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The meals must provide one-third of the daily minimum nutrition requirements established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The menus must be developed by a dietitian and special diet meals, ordered by a participant's doctor, must be provided.

Designate staff authorized and trained to assist participants who cannot self-administer prescribed medications. All medications administered must come from a pharmacy or the participant's doctor. Staff responsible for administering medication must hold a current state license to administer medications. Records must be kept for every participant taking medication, including written orders from the participant's doctor for every medication and treatment.

Hire appropriate staff to meet the needs of the adult day care program. All staff members must pass a criminal records check based on Georgia Department of Human Resources policies, and each employee must provide three letters of reference. Staff should include a Program Administrator, an Activities Director and Day Care Assistants. If the facility provides nursing services, the facility should have a state-licensed Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) on staff. If the required meals are prepared in the facility, adequate food service staff must be available to prepare meals. They must follow state and local regulations for food service sanitation.