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The Green House Project Blog

Saint Elizabeth Home in Rhode Island Slated to Build Green House Homes

The journey to build Green House homes in Rhode Island officially got underway this week with The Green House Project team delivering the first educational session to create a coaching culture with Saint Elizabeth Home leadership.

While a moratorium on building or adding skilled nursing rooms has been in place for years in Rhode Island—Saint Elizabeth Home was one of three applications approved by the Department of Health to deliver a new model of care for skilled nursing.

Matt Trimble, Administrator of Saint Elizabeth Home says “We are thrilled with this approval and look forward to expand our ability to care for RI seniors in a new and creative way on our Saint Elizabeth Home campus.”

The plans call for the construction of four Green House homes.  12 Elders will live in each home which will include private bedrooms and bathrooms, a common hearth area, and meals cooked in an open kitchen area.

The leadership and trustees at Saint Elizabeth Community have been researching The Green House model for a number of years.  Steven J. Horowitz, President and CEO of Saint Elizabeth Community explained, “We have been very invested as an organization in bringing this new model of care to Rhode Island, and know that it will change the way long term care is delivered.”

The next step will be to apply for a certificate of need and Saint Elizabeth Home has been approved for an expeditious review.

Saint Elizabeth Home is a member of Saint Elizabeth Community, a not for profit, charitable organization that provides a variety of care and services to elders.  Founded in Providence in 1882, the organization now has ten RI locations which includes affordable apartments, adult day centers, assisted living, skilled nursing and rehab centers.

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Sharing a Favorite Salad During This Holiday Season Can Bring Unexpected Joy

During the holidays we like to feature a recipe from an Elder in a Green House home.  This year we are featuring a Cranberry Jell-O salad that was a favorite of Millicent Stutzman who lives in the Showalter House at the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community in Harrisonburg, VA.  Her daughter, Marliese Poskitt, shares the story below concerning this special salad.  There is no recipe because Millicent didn’t use recipes…so her daughter made the salad this Thanksgiving from the memory of watching and helping her mother over the years.


“Thanksgiving at our house always involved getting out the metal food grinder that attached to the end of our kitchen counter like a vise. Mom washed the cranberries, peeled the apples, and Dad put them through the old hand-cranked grinder. Along with chopped pecans and Jell-O, it made a delicious and colorful salad. The holiday doesn’t seem the same now without her Cranberry Jell-O salad. So, when we were invited to have Thanksgiving Dinner with her at the Showalter House, I washed the cranberries, peeled the apples, and chopped the nuts (with my electric food processor) and brought Mom’s salad to share. At dinner, Mom tasted it and her eyes lit up a little. She said “That’s me! That’s me!” and pointed to the salad. At 94, having dealt with memory loss issues for many years, she struggles to communicate with us. We don’t know for certain what was going on in her mind, but to my brother and me, she seemed to be saying, “Hey, that’s my recipe!” The salad, and her response, was her gift to us this Thanksgiving.”
And so we share the gift with you and perhaps you might enjoy making Cranberry Jell-O Salad for or with your family for Christmas.”

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Joan Lunden on Planning for the Future and Finding Resources for our Elders

The American Society on Aging’s bi-monthly newsletter, Aging Today, interviewed Joan Lunden about her work with A Place for Mom and the need for having a plan in place for your aging parents. Lunden uses her platform as former Good Morning America host to advocate for senior care.

Aging Today asked Lunden about her mother and the obstacles she faced while caring for her:

I was so unprepared, and had no plan in place. I’m sorry to say that I think [that’s] typical. It’s just part of human nature—we want to think of ourselves as kids and our parents as in charge, impenetrable decision makers. But there comes a time when they’re not. … The day you have to become a parent to your parent is unnatural, and uncomfortable. You don’t want to burden your parents by asking what their plans are for later life, you don’t want to be presumptive or make them feel awkward, but if we don’t ask, [their care] might financially devastate our own family. And our parents are reluctant to answer, which is also part of human nature because it represents their mortality.

It is important to establish a plan for the elders in our lives, so the people who mean the most to us are taken care of in a healthy setting. Green House homes offer home for life in an empowering environment so that our loved ones experience meaningful life.

Click here to read the full interview.

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CMS Five-Star Rating Program Update

The President and CEO of The American Health Care Association (AHCA), Mark Parkinson, recently released a statement to AHCA members regarding President Obama’s Executive Action on October 6th to improve the Five-Star Rating Program.

As a result of the President’s Executive Action, the Five-Star Program, created by CMS six years ago, will change in two key ways. First, payroll data will be collected in order to improve accuracy of staffing information. Second, the administration has developed three new quality measures that will be added to the nine existing measures: rehospitalizations, discharge back to community and antipsychotic use.

According to Parkinson, “As CMS changes the staffing and quality measures, it will need to create new scoring and therefore, new cut points. This inevitably will impact the staffing scores and quality measure scores for a significant number of providers.”  In light of this, AHCA has issued a collective call to action in order to educate providers, legislators and CMS about the potential problems that may result from the Executive Action.

To learn more about the history of the program and AHCA’s call to action, read the full statement here.

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The 7th Annual Green House Annual Meeting and Celebration, Smashing Success!

Dr. Thomas and David Farrell

The Green House Project recently joined 250 of our closest friends from around the country at the 7th Annual Green House Meeting and Celebration in Memphis, Tennessee! Together, with Green House model adopters, we brushed up on our Elvis impersonation, moved to some funky blues music and chowed down on some of the country’s best BBQ! The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation welcomed the attendees to the meeting.  As their generous grant funding nears its end, it was a powerful time to reflect with gratitude at all that has been accomplished, and our future momentum.  The theme of the conference was Leading with Heart and Soul, and with the passion and energy in the room, it was a befitting frame for our time together.

This year’s conference took place at the historic and beautiful Peabody Memphis hotel, with a true Memphis welcome from elder, and owner of the Peabody, Jack Belz. The voice of the elder was found throughout the conference, with a “Ted Talk” by Twylah and David Haun, elders who were the driving force behind bringing The Green House project to John Knox Village in Pompano Beach, Fl, and videos of elders from Green House homes around the country talking about their lives and what this model means to them. The shahbaz, the versatile house manager and direct care staff in The Green House model, also had a prominent role in this year’s conference. Dr. Bill Thomas honored the many shahbazim in attendance with the continued imperative to protect, sustain and nurture the elders,-and he issued a challenge for everyone to consider: “What’s next?”

The team from Penfield Green House homes in Rochester, NY

The Green House Annual Meeting is an energy boost for everyone in attendance.The networking, shared experiences and speakers all inspire us and challenge us to grow. The THRIVE collaborative is a group of esteemed researchers from top universities around the country, who have joined together to conduct studies on The Green House model that will illustrate the impact of this model on the cost and quality of health care. The results of these studies will highlight how we can continue to evolve and grow this model. They shared outcomes to date, and implications to Green House adopters. In a dynamic and innovative time, protecting the value of The Green House brand is key. This research, along with the newly unveiled, Model Integrity Process, will ensure that while Green House homes look different across the country, they all uphold the core values of real home, meaningful life and empowered staff.

Carman Bowman gave a provocative and illuminating talk as she uncovered some of the mystery around regulations, and described how certain “F-Tags” can be utilized by nursing home operators to support person-directed care. She challenged the group to educate themselves and educate their surveyors about how we can met the elders’ needs while responsibly moving away from chair alarms, certain dietary restrictions, and other institutional practices that don’t serve our field.

As Manager of Social Responsibility at FedEx, Rose Jackson Flenorl directs and implements the company’s community outreach strategy in the areas of Disaster Relief, Safety, Environment, Education, and Diversity in national and international markets. Rose wowed the crowd by drawing parallels between FedEx and The Green House model as initiatives that started as a dream and became a reality that changed a field. Rose shared the personal story of her upbringing and her desire to provide her parents with the love and care that she thought only could come from her, until she visited the Ave Maria Green House homes in Memphis. She now she has hope that long term care can be different. Rose’s open hearted presentation of leadership, risk, and those ideas that change the world, riveted the audience, and validated the work that we do.

Beth Baker, insightful author of With a Little Help From Our Friends, Creating Community as We Grow Older, closed the conference with a message of interdependence. We need to take care of each other and age in community. As Michele Kort, Senior Editor of Ms. Magazine describes, “Beth Baker courageously and empathetically asks the question many Baby Boomers avoid: How will we make it through our aging years with dignity, independence and pleasure? The answers she receives from folks around the US, straight and LGBT, reassure us that there are already promising paths being carved.”

Linda Robertson, St. Martin’s in the Pines, Birmingham, AL

Beyond educational sessions on team building, leadership, policy quality outcomes and Green House operations, site visits to the Ave Maria Green House homes created a “seeing is believing” experience for many of organizations who are still in the financial exploration phase, and a chance for those implementing and sustaining the model to learn from each other. The Green House Annual Meeting & Celebration is an excellent opportunity to connect with fellow Green House pioneers, to learn, grow, and leave inspired to lead as we continue to champion change that meaningfully impacts the lives of Elders.

To see recorded videos of selected sessions, please visit our YouTube Page. We, at The Green House Project thank everyone for making this the best meeting yet, and look forward to seeing even more Green House adopters next year for the 8th Annual Green House Meeting and Celebration in Colorado!

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