Information for Home Healthcare Agencies

The purpose of the Special Needs Program is to provide transportation and sheltering for Alachua County residents who have mental or physical limitations or disabilities and have no other option but to request public assistance for evacuation planning in the event of a disaster such as a hurricane.

Your agency plays a very important role in the registration process and identification of Special Needs people in the area due to the constant contact with potentially clients year long.

The Division of Emergency Management encourages you to follow the instructions provided to help you register clients and assist them in their evacuation planning:
Identify eligible clients and inform them of the availability of the Special Needs Program. Registration is free, voluntary and confidential.

  • Although new clients can be added to the program at any time, we recommend that you register current clients prior to Hurricane Season (June 1 - November 1).
  • When assisting clients with filling out their registrations, make sure the form is filled out legibly and completely. Also determine clients' medical needs and enter a shelter category. (Refer to the program's criteria and follow registration instructions).
  • Only use the Special Needs registration form provided by Alachua County Emergency Management to register clients. Make copies of the form as needed. (Use one registration form per client).
  • Send all completed registration forms to Alachua County Emergency Management.
  • Make sure the Alachua County Division of Emergency Management has accurate and current information on all your clients at all times. Provide regular updates to assure registration information on new, discharged and existing Special Needs clients is up to date.

Persons with Special Needs are those who require daily assistance for living activities (personal care: bathing, walking, transportation, or eating) or for medication administration/ treatment for stable/controlled conditions such as: Arthritis (severe), Alzheimer's, bedridden, cancer, cardiac history (stable), diabetes, dialysis, electricity dependent, frail elderly, physical/mobility impairment, oxygen supply dependent, Parkinson's, paralysis, post-operation recovery, respiratory problems, seizures, sores, severe visual/hearing impairment, or wheelchair bound.

Who Is Eligible?
  • People who do not have any local relatives or friends to assist them with transportation, sheltering and take care of their needs in the event of a disaster.
  • People who do not have access to transportation to a shelter because they are unable to drive or are homebound.
  • People who must be placed in public shelters because they reside in a vulnerable area or housing such as a flood zone or manufactured housing.
  • People who live alone or with another Special Needs person
Who Is Not Eligible?
  • People who have already made evacuation plans with local relatives or friends. Please note this fact on your agency's records.
  • People who require hospitalization or clinical care to treat critical or advanced medical conditions. Clients with hospitalization needs should make prior arrangements with their physicians for transportation and evacuation.
  • People who are residents of Assisted Living Facilities such as nursing homes, group homes, or retirement facilities. These facilities should meet their residents evacuation needs with their own emergency plans.
Before Registering Clients:
  • Make sure your clients' medical needs have been identified and entered on the program registration forms in order to place them in the appropriate shelter type that meets their needs.
  • Advise clients to discuss their medical needs and evacuation plans with local family and friends. Your client may be more comfortable riding or staying with family or friends since space may be limited in evacuation vehicles and at shelters.
  • Advise clients who depend on electricity and/or oxygen to make arrangements with their physicians, local oxygen suppliers and their power company.
  • Let clients know that one caregiver, such as a spouse, relative, or friend, may accompany them to the shelter.
  • Do not wait until hurricane season starts to begin registering for the Special Needs Program. Pre-registration helps assure clients' safety and proper planning. Contact our office to request Special Needs registration forms or information at (352) 264-6500 or acem@alachuacounty.us.
Update Procedures for Home Healthcare Agencies:
  • Once a year, prior to Hurricane Season (June 1- November 30), your agency should receive notice of a Special Needs Program Registry general update. At this time, our office will request that your agency update registrations or information for any Special Needs client(s) with expired registrations.
  • Additionally, we ask you to submit regular update reports or lists to keep your clients' registration records up to date and accurate. Please inform our office any time a change of information occurs for any client since this may affect his or her program eligibility and shelter placement. We appreciate regular updates for the following:
    • Discharged Clients Lists - Provide our office with lists containing full names, dates of birth and reasons for discharge. Our office contacts discharged clients who remain in the area to confirm their program eligibility. Discharged clients who move out of the area, move into an assisted living facilities, or who pass away should be immediately removed from our registry.
    • Any information changes on clients, such as new address, phone number, or improved/deteriorated medical condition. must be updated in our records. Wrong information may prevent our office from effectively reaching clients during an emergency evacuation and from re-registering them during the annual registry update.