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The Green House Project Blog

Veterans Service Representatives Welcomed by The Green House Project and Stadium Place

As policy makers discuss improvements in how health care is provided for our nation’s Veterans, the need for greater option for long-term services and supports is greater than ever.  The aging of the Veterans population will require a new vision.   Many of our Veterans require 24-7 care skilled nursing care.   In 2013, nearly 36,000 veterans resided in skilled nursing care facilities on a long-term basis.  Another 4,000 Veterans received skilled nursing care on a short-term basis.   In response to this growing need, Green House Homes are becoming increasingly available to Veterans.

The Green House Project was thrilled to host representatives from Veteran’s Service Organizations for a home visit at The Green House Residences at Stadium Place on July 14th.   Representatives from the Department of Veterans Affairs, VHA Central Office, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S., The American Legion and Disabled American Veterans came together to learn more about how The Green House model  can serve our veterans with an innovative alternative for long-term care.

A Green House home is a self-contained, skilled nursing home where autonomy and choice are honored, quality care is a priority and people have more satisfying and meaningful lives, work and relationships.  Ten to twelve veterans live in each home.

The people who live and work in a Green House home collaborate to create a flexible living environment where each resident enjoys choice and independence.

Green House homes provide all the same services of a traditional nursing home, delivering an exceptionally high quality of care while keeping the emphasis on the comfort and well-being of the Elder.

The daily operating cost for Green House homes are the same as traditional nursing homes.  And the quality of care improves health outcomes, yielding real savings on healthcare costs.

This summer the Tomah VA Medical Center in Tomah, Wisconsin will become the fourth VAMC to open Green House Homes.  Later this year, the Green House homes at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin will open.  Click here to learn more about The Green House Project for Veterans.

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Reducing Readmissions and Healthcare Costs: The Green House Solution

In a recent issue of McKnight’s, I saw this headline – “Reducing readmissions should be No. 1 priority for reducing healthcare costs, quality experts say.”    That was a key conclusion of a recent online poll from 300 members of the American Society for Quality (ASQ) , which describes itself as the “largest network of quality resources and experts in the world” and includes prominent long-term care quality consultants.

It doesn’t take a quality expert to realize that reducing preventable readmissions is a great way to reduce healthcare costs.  By definition, “preventable” means wasted money.  In addition to saving money, reducing readmissions improves the quality of life for Elders, by minimizing the stress and disruption hospital admission causes.

Another article in McKnights from a couple of months ago suggests that pressure ulcer stats are the most reliable indicator of the likely readmission rate from a particular nursing home.  Based on an analysis of data from 4,000 hospitals, HSR: Health Services Research found that pressure ulcer prevalence in particular predicts whether a nursing home will readmit residents.

Can Green House homes help reduce readmissions?  The answer is a resounding “yes!”  In preliminary research (a complete study will be available later this year from the THRIVE research team), traditional nursing homes had readmission rates that were 7 points higher than Green House homes.  A related study found that the incidence of pressure ulcers in Green House homes was “significantly lower” than the incidence in traditional homes.

The bottom line?  The THRIVE research team concluded that the “overall difference in total Medicare and Medicaid costs per resident over 12 months (sum of hospitalization and daily care costs (RUG costs)) ranged from approximately $1,300 to $2,300 less for residents in Green House vs. traditional nursing homes” depending on RUG rates in the state.

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First Green House Homes in Minnesota Officially Open!

Despite the long winter and flooding in Minnesota this year…the ribbon cutting ceremony at Water’s Edge on June 26th was a real success.  The first Green House homes located in Mankato, Minnesota will be welcoming Elders in mid-July.  Congratulations to all!

The three story project, with an assisted living Green House home on each floor, was developed and will be operated by Grace Senior Services.  Owners, Brad and Heather Bass along with their children and other city officials were all on hand for the grand opening event.

Water’s Edge is located on the Mankato hilltop and will offer wonderful scenic waterfront and woodland views.  Of course every Green House home also offers private bedroom and bathrooms for Elders, a central hearth area, full kitchen with home cooked meals, and a dining room area.  It can be chilly during those Minnesota winters, so Water’s Edge will also include heated bathroom floors and a “four-season sun porch” for each home.

The Director of Operations for Water’s Edge will be Brooke Olson.  The initial team to staff the first home is currently receiving their 128 hours of additional training to their current certification as a nurse, licensed practical nurse or nursing assistant.

The supplemental training is a hallmark of The Green House model of care.  The people who live and work in a Green House home collaborate to create a flexible daily routine that meets and Elder’s needs and preferences.  If they wish, Elders can help cook, and assist with housekeeping or laundry.  There is no predetermined routine, which facilitates independence and an Elder’s ability to pursue individual interests and schedules.  Deep relationships between the Elders and staff are one reason that the Green House model creates dramatic improvements in quality of life and care.

Capital Impact Partners was critical in the development and funding of Water’s Edge.  They provided $1.5 million in financing for the project:  One million from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s program-related investment (PRI) and $500,000 from the AARP Foundation PRI funds.  Capital Impact Partners, a congressionally chartered, non-profit community development finance institution provides financial services and technical assistance nationwide to help make high-quality health care, healthy foods, housing and education more accessible and attainable, and eldercare more dignified and respectful.  Water’s Edge owner Brad Bass was most pleased to work with Capital Impact Partners, “You have a great program and excellent staff.  I could never have done this without all of your extensive resources!  Not to mention the funding that was really the igniter to get this development going”.

We wish the team at Water’s Edge only the best as they welcome their Elders into the Green House homes during the upcoming weeks!  Again, congratulations to all!

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Technology: Where do we go from here?

Via: Long-Term Living Magazine

Many of us are always trying to determine what technology makes the most sense for our organization…it’s an important issue for day to day operations and of course it has real financial implications.

The Long-Term and Post-Acute Care Collaborative has announced its 2014-2016 Roadmap for technology adoption.  In light of a world filled with devices to keep us connected, it isn’t surprising that many parts of the roadmap deal with that specific issue:  staying connected!

The roadmap was unveiled on the final day of the Long-Term and Post-Acute Care Health IT Summit.  There are five key sections: connected workers, connected partners, connected residents and caregivers, connected health intelligence and connected business imperatives.

Click here to read the full story!

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Dancing Reduces Pain

If you have knee pain, try dancing the aches away. As reported in Mcknight’s, Saint Louis University’s School of Nursing released a study of elders who complained about knee pain or stiffness in their joints. The results showed that those who danced reported less pain.

“The researchers separated the senior residents into two groups — one group that danced for 45 minutes up to two times a week and another group that did not receive any kind of dance therapy. On average, those in the dance group attended 21 out of 24 sessions.

Results showed that participants in the dance group were able to walk faster and reported less pain. In addition, residents in the dance group took 39% less pain medication while participants in the non-dance group took 21% more medication.”

Although this was a small study consisting of 34 participants, with an average age of 80, “the dance therapy sessions became a regular program after the study was finished.” They plan to continue researching the benefits of dance on the body’s joints.

Click here to read the published study, and don’t stop dancing!

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