Health care is provided in a variety of settings.

  • Hospitals
  • Acute-Care Hospitals
  • Long-term Care Hospitals
  • Rehabilitation Hospitals
  • Nursing Homes
  • Home-based Care
  • Out-Patient Services


Various types of hospitals exist. Here is a brief look at these types of hospitals:

  • Acute-care hospital
  • Long-term care hospital
  • Rehabilitative hospital


People are most familiar with acute-care hospitals. They usually have an emergency department and provide inpatient care when you are sick or injured.

These facilities may serve a local population or a region. A large regional center offers a wide range of services and receives transfers from community facilities.

You may not stay in an acute-care hospital for a long period of time. Once you are stable, your doctor may recommend another level of care.


A newer service provider, long-term care hospitals provide extended medical or rehabilitation to people with complex heath needs, including ventilator care. Patients stay more than 25 days.

Your doctor may refer you to a long-term care hospital if you are stable enough to leave the hospital but still need rather intense care.

You also can start planning about how you will pay for long-term care. Medicare covers only short stays in a nursing home, primarily while receiving physical therapy or skilled nursing care. It pays for no custodial care.

Some people have long-term care insurance that will pay for longer stays. Many people rely on Medicaid. This government assistance program requires a lengthy application and supporting documents. If you think you will need this care, contact Medicaid about what you will need, and start collecting it now.

Assisted-living facilities provide help with bathing, shopping, laundry, cleaning and other tasks. They do not provide health care.

For more information about Long-Term Residential Care, select the link below:
LeadingAge – This organization of nonprofit long-term care providers offers consumer information about nursing homes and assisted-living facilities and what to consider when selecting a home:


Rehabilitation hospitals focus on restoring health to people with disabling conditions through an intense therapy program. Services include nursing, physical, occupational and speech therapy. These hospitals may have special programs to help people suffering from a spinal cord or brain injury, a stroke or an amputation.


Long-term care typically refers to nursing homes or assisted-living facilities. The level of care needed depends on whether the person can manage their activities of daily living, such as bathing, eating, dressing and using the bathroom.
Nursing homes provide round-the-clock health care. A nurse is on duty at all times. Nursing assistants assist with bathing and getting you to the bathroom. Most facilities also offer physical, occupational and speech therapies. You may need a nursing home for only a short time, to recover from a fall or illness. Or you may need to stay longer.


Older adults may prefer to remain in their homes for as long as possible. Home services help people continue living at home longer than might otherwise be possible.

Services are available at home, including:

  • Doctor visits
  • Nursing
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy
  • Personal care, bathing and dressing
  • Homemaking, cleaning and chores
  • Companion services, someone to sit with you but not provide hands-on care
  • Hospice, end-of-life care
  • Medical testing
  • Drug infusion therapy
  • Medical equipment

Nursing in the Home
Home health agencies provide multiple services in the home. Some companies are Medicare certified and have met federal standards. Medicare pays for intermittent skilled nursing care and rehabilitation therapy from a certified agency. If you need skilled care, Medicare will also provide a home health aide to help with a bath. Typically, these agencies also accept Medicaid and private insurance plans.

Personal Care in the Home
Many fine home care companies do not accept Medicare. They often provide aides to help with personal care, homemaking or companions. Community Care for the Elderly programs in Florida provide personal care and homemaking services to low-income, homebound, frail elders. It aims to delay or prevent clients moving to a nursing home.

Hospice in the Home
Hospices provide end-of-life care to people expected to live six months or less. They aim to keep the person comfortable so they can live life to the fullest for the time they have left. Hospices use a team approach to develop a plan of care for each patient. Hospices also supply medications, supplies and equipment needed to manage the terminal condition.

Other home services
Many tests, including X-rays and blood work, can be performed in the home. People needing intravenous drugs or nutritional therapy can receive it at home from an infusion company. And durable medical equipment dealers deliver beds, wheelchairs, walkers and other supplies to the house.

For more information on Home Care Services, select the links below:

National Association for Home Care
An organization of home care providers, NAHC provides consumer information about the types of services offered in the home and how to select an agency:

National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization
An organization of hospice providers, the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization offers information about hospice and palliative care, how care is paid for and suggestions for choosing a hospice:


Collaboration between the Osceola County Council on Aging and Community Vision, Mobile Medical Express provides care to low-income, uninsured patients in Osceola County. It provides primary health care.

When planning to use the mobile service, bring a photo ID, proof of income and any drugs you are taking.
For more information, contact the:
Osceola County Council on Aging at 407-846-8532.


Today, more and more health services are provided on an outpatient basis. You can receive care for many conditions formerly treated in a hospital in a separate facility.

Your doctor may recommend you go to an outpatient center for surgery, other procedures or rehabilitation. Some centers are affiliated with hospitals or physician practices. Others are independently owned.

Rehabilitation services may include:

  • Physical therapy to help you gain strength and get back on your feet
  • Occupational therapy to help improve skills needed to live independently
  • Speech therapy to help recover speech and swallowing ability

Medicare covers the cost of outpatient therapy on a short-term basis, until you reach your full potential.