A personal care home can provide a much-needed service for your community, and the needs for these facilities is only expected to grow. In fact, the state of Georgia anticipates that by 2030, about 20% of the population will be over the age of 60. By 2050, there will be over 460,000 people in Georgia who are 85 or older.

For those who do not require full-time nursing care but do need help with daily tasks like bathing, dressing and ensuring they take their medication, a personal care home can be a lifesaver for seniors and their families.

What Personal Care Homes Do

Personal care homes are any home or building providing personal services for two or more adults who aren't related to the people running the home. Residents receive care such as help with eating, bathing, dressing and having their medications supervised.

Personal care homes are not nursing homes or home health care agencies and do not provide nursing or other medical services to residents. Personal care homes are forbidden by law to admit residents who need full-time nursing care.

Requirements for Personal Care Homes in Georgia

Georgia has strict, detailed requirements for any personal care home. This should be expected since you will be responsible for the health, safety and care of a vulnerable sector of society. Your facility must be licensed and overseen by the Georgia Department of Community Health.

To begin, your home must have a fire inspection and a safety inspection, which will help determine how many people can live in your home. Some of the requirements state that your home must have:

  • A bedroom for every resident (large rooms can be shared)
  • One bathroom for every four residents
  • A tub or shower for every eight residents
  • Grab bars and nonskid surfaces in bathrooms
  • A living room
  • A dining area
  • A kitchen
  • Hand rails on stairs

Additionally, your personal care home must provide residents with three meals each day, at least two snacks, activities and an appropriate amount of care and supervision as required by each resident. You also need to provide them with laundry services and transportation services.

Steps to Take Before Opening a Personal Care Home

You will have to do a lot of preparation before you apply for a state license for your personal care home. Consider this summary of the steps you will need to take:

  1. Familiarize yourself with all state regulations for personal care homes as well as local and state ordinances like fire regulations, zoning, health regulations and building regulations.

  2. Decide where your personal care home will be located.

  3. Ensure that you can pass a criminal background check and find out where you can get first aid and CPR training. You and anyone you hire will need these skills before working at your personal care home.

  4. Download and complete the licensing application package available from the Georgia Department of Community Health.

  5. Contact the local fire department for a fire safety inspection of your proposed home or its plans.

  6. Contact your city or county authorities and get documentation that you have notified them of your plans to open a personal care home at your proposed location.

  7. Get a water test from the county public health department if your proposed home uses a well or a septic tank.

  8. Get an electrical inspection, a fire and safety inspection and acquire a floor plan of your facility. You'll need these when you apply.

  9. Complete the rules compliance checklist for personal care homes from the Georgia Department of Community Health.

    10. Submit your completed home care application package to the Georgia Department of Community Health.

As you can see, the process is detailed and may take several months. Fortunately, the Georgia Department of Community Health offers online training on its website to guide you through the process and to help you understand your responsibilities in this process.