By Rachel Klumpp / Posted on January 29th, 2016
What Does it Mean to Lead Meaningful and Sustainable Change
The “Portrait of a Green House Leader” webinar series continues by highlighting the talents of Joyce Ebmeier, Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning for Tabitha Health Care Services in Lincoln, NE. Tabitha offers a continuum of services to elders, including the first Green House homes in Nebraska and the second built nationally. Joyce attributes her desire to work in elder care to her deep relationship with her grandmother and the wisdom she shared with her growing up. After graduating from the University of Nebraska with a bachelor’s degree in Education, she pursued a career in teaching before beginning her career with Tabitha in 1981, where she served as the administrator of their nursing and rehabilitation center for fourteen years. Currently, as the Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning, she is responsible for directing the overall planning, monitoring, communication, and progress of Tabitha’s business and strategic plan.
Joyce was inspired to champion the development of Tabitha’s four Green House homes after listening to Dr. Thomas speak about The Green House vision in 2001. As an administrator of a traditional facility, she knew the opportunity to imagine a blank page, and create more of what she knew elder care could be through The Green House model was the next step in writing Tabitha’s future chapters. After sharing the vision, the board approved the development of one Green House home after half the initial funds were raised. Joyce identifies that engaging with a grant writer to help locate available funding sources and network with organizational leaders was a crucial strategy to raise the initial funds for the Martin house, their first Green House home to nine elders. After they demonstrated the success of the model through the Martin house, three more homes were built, with plans to purchase property and build four additional homes in the future.
From a cost perspective, Joyce states that their Green House homes are major contributors to the success of the
entire company. Specifically, adding Green House homes for long term care into Tabitha’s continuum of services provided an opportunity to expand their capacity for post acute short term rehabilitation in their legacy building. This balance of costs and revenues combined aids in the growth of Tabitha’s entire organization. Further, Joyce describes that the quality of care associated with their Green House homes has become a hallmark within the community that is a “magnet” for people seeking long term care. This high demand results in a reliable, sustainable census that is crucial for overall operational success.
However, Joyce notes that the true success or “magic” of The Green House model comes from the incredible people who live and work in the homes and the culture created to foster deep knowing relationships. “It’s the most important part of getting The Green House model correct. If you don’t have the right people and you don’t provide an environment which empowers them to do their work with the elders… if that doesn’t happen the most beautiful and perfectly designed houses are really a waste of time and money.” At Tabitha, recruiting extremely creative, great people has resulted in
unique teams in each home where people feel empowered to bring who they are into their work. This results in extraordinary events and celebrations, such as their annual Green House carnival, and quiet everyday moments of compassion, love, and joy in the homes that couldn’t occur in a traditional setting. For Joyce, when talking about her accomplishments in her career, she identifies working with The Green House Project as the one she’s most proud of, yet is continuously striving for success in providing the highest quality of care for elders. When thinking about her Green House legacy in the future, she hopes it reads “But as remarkable as the Green House model became, what came next from these pioneers in elder care was even better.”
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on January 13th, 2016
“In a year that marked the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security, the White House Conference on Aging provided an opportunity to reflect on the importance of these programs, highlight new actions to support Americans as we age, and focus on the powerful role that technology can play in lives of seniors in the decade ahead.” –Cecilia Munoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council
The Green House Project was honored to participate and be highlighted during the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. “Through a combination of listening sessions, breakout groups, watch parties, regional and topical forums, and written feedback, the White House heard from thousands of Americans about the issues most important to them regarding our aging population.” Click here to read the final report for the 2015 White House Conference on Aging that summarizes the work of the White House to create a fulfilling and dignified world for elders and those who work closest to them.
One highlight was a visit by Executive Director of The White House Conference on Aging, Nora Super, to Leonard Florence Center for living, the first urban Green House model, located outside of Boston. There, Ms. Super engaged in dialogue with elders and staff members to learn how The Green House model creates caring homes and meaningful lives for those who live and work there. This opportunity gave the model a national stage to share the impact that it can have for elders and staff in long term care.
By Jeff Shireman / Posted on January 6th, 2016
At Lebanon Valley Brethren Home we believe in empowering our elders and providing innovative ways to care for their needs both in mind, body and spirit. This video is the story about our Green House homes, which are designed to serve those who need the highest level of nursing care.
We decided to tell our story by video for a few different reasons. First and foremost, we wanted to create a clear and visual way to describe The Green House model to prospective elders and their families. Because we limit outside visits to preserve the value of ‘real home’,video is another way to create that “seeing is believing” experience.
Additionally, this video is a great way to educate our team, community and stakeholders about The Green House model. By ensuring that our network understands the value of this model and the life that we are creating at Lebanon Valley Brethren Home, we are looking forward to their support in building more Green House homes in the future.
Thank you for taking the time to watch our video, and if you would like to learn more about our community, please visit our website.
Jeff Shireman is the President and CEO of Lebanon Valley Brethren Home
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on December 28th, 2015
2015 was a year of remarkable growth for The Green House Project. We are coming to a community near you, and our name is recognized as the pinnacle of long term care innovation. The Peer Network is one of those crucial elements that sets us apart and as our network grows, we develop and evolve because of their wisdom. The 8th Annual Green House Meeting was a powerful convening of this network. Green House adopters from around the country come together to learn from leaders in the field and each other. They gain energy and successful practices toward continued success. To support this sustainability and apply the results of the THRIVE research that will be published in 2016, The Green House Project released a tool to gauge model integrity. This tool will ensure that The Green House core values of Real Home, Meaningful Life and Empowered Staff thrive in all organizations who are living this model every day.
The Green House Project receives a great deal of recognition and media coverage. Here’s just a small sampling of the dozens of stories and accolades over the last few months.
- Green House Project Founder Hailed as top “Influencer in Aging.” In its first annual list of people that are changing aging and how we think about aging, Next Avenue recognized The Green House Project’s founder Bill Thomas. Read more.
- The New York Times Highlights Green House Homes. In a recently published story on the trend toward smaller nursing home residences, the author highlights the Green House model. Read more.
- Recognition at Annual LeadingAge Conference. At this year’s conference in Boston, thousands of attendees got to hear Atul Gawande’s keynote, where he discussed The Green House model and specifically called out the Leonard Florence Center for Living in Chelsea, MA. Read more. Dr. Eleanor Barbera of McKnight’s visited the Leonard Florence Center while attending the conference and wrote about it. Read more.
The Green House Project is about to end an historic year – there are now 185 Green House homes open in 28 states. Here’s just a sampling of some of the news from Green House projects around the country over the last few months:
- Washington County (Colorado) Nursing Home Groundbreaking. In a total replacement of its current nursing home, Washington County will be developing 4 Green House homes. This is the second project in Colorado. Read more.
- Saint Elizabeth Groundbreaking – First in Rhode Island. Rhode Island breaks its moratorium on new nursing home development to approve the first Green House homes in the state. Read More.
- Morris Hall Meadows (NJ) Grand Opening. In October, Morris Hall Meadows opened 6 new Green House homes, making it the second Green House project in New Jersey. Read More.
- Clark-Lindsey (IL) Groundbreaking. In September, Clark-Lindsey broke ground on two Green House homes that will be dedicated to dementia care. This is a major step forward for Illinois providers and regulatory offices looking to spur innovation in the state. Read More.
As we look with hope and gratitude toward the new year, please take a moment to hear Doris Delanus, an elder who lived at The Village of Redford in Michigan, tell us about what these homes mean to her. Elders Rule!
By Admin / Posted on December 9th, 2015
Green House Homes Will Be First of Their Kind in Western Massachusetts
Jewish Geriatric Services Lifecare Partners with THE GREEN HOUSE® Project
LONGMEADOW, MA— Martin W. Baicker, president and CEO, Jewish Geriatric Services (JGS) Lifecare, is pleased to announce JGS Lifecare will be working with THE GREEN HOUSE® Project to implement this revolutionary model of care in the new Sosin Center for Rehabilitation, currently under construction, and throughout the Leavitt Family Jewish Home community over the next 18 months.
“Green House has worked with over 170 nursing homes around the country,” said Baicker. “They’ve helped establish a new standard in long term and post-acute care that’s resulted in higher quality outcomes and increased elder and caregiver satisfaction,” he added.
“JGS Lifecare has a strong reputation for high quality, with over a hundred years of commitment to elders, families and staff in the community. We commend them for their vision to further their mission by implementing The Green House model, and their commitment to transform long term care in western Massachusetts,” said Susan Frazier Ryan, senior director, The Green House Project.
A Green House home is a self-contained home for up to 12 elders, designed to provide a personalized model of care within a real home setting. Each home features ample natural light, a central living area, open kitchen, and dining room. Staff is rigorously trained in the Green House philosophy, giving residents 4x more human contact than the traditional institutional model.
The Green House model will be implemented in the 24,000 square foot Sosin Center, featuring two Green House homes, when it is completed in approximately 8-10 months. The Sosin Center will be the only Green House certified facility in western Massachusetts, the third in Massachusetts. The model will then be implemented throughout JGS Lifecare’s 200-bed skilled nursing home.
“As we move away from traditional models of care and embrace The Green House model of care, we will not only improve the care provided, but also enhance the dignity of those living here. Green House homes combine the best of a real home setting with skilled care, giving elders the freedom to live life on their terms, rather than conform to the rhythms of the institution. It helps them thrive in comfortable spaces that feel like home,” said Anne M. Thomas, vice president of residential health, JGS Lifecare.
JGS Lifecare is working with Perkins Eastman, one of the foremost architectural firms designing in The Green House model in the United States to assist in the design of the upgrades and new facility. The Sosin Center and nursing home remodel are part of JGS Lifecare’s Project Transformation, a dynamic $20 million multi-step initiative to enhance person-centered care on the Longmeadow campus.
About JGS Lifecare: JGS Lifecare is a leading health care system serving seniors and their families. JGS Lifecare services include nursing home care, home health and hospice care, assisted living, adult day health care, rehabilitation services, palliative care, music therapy and subsidized independent living.
About the Sosin Center for Rehabilitation: Now under construction, the Sosin Center for Rehabilitation will bring the Green House model of care, a more homelike setting for people undergoing rehabilitative care, to JGS Lifecare. The 24-bed short term care/rehabilitation building will be connected to our existing nursing home by a promenade that will include Michael’s Café, a new kosher coffee shop and cafeteria. Sosin Center construction will be completed in approximately 12 months.
About THE GREEN HOUSE® Project: The Green House Project is a radically new national model for skilled nursing care that returns control, dignity and a sense of well-being to elders, their families and direct care staff. In the Green House model, residents receive care in small, self- contained homes organized to deliver individualized care and meaningful relationships between residents and care staff.
By Doug Luginbill / Posted on December 7th, 2015
By Doug Luginbill, Director of Resource Development and Church Relations, Mennonite Home Communities of Ohio
The holiday season in a nursing home is often filled with carolers, family visits and special treats. Activity rooms fill with elementary school children singing familiar Christmas songs as elders smile with enjoyment. Christmas trees adorn the lobbies, dining rooms and other places where space can be found. It is a festive time.
Often, Elders are passive observers of these festivities, but in The Green House homes, this is not the case. At Willow Ridge in Bluffton, OH, Elders not only sit back and enjoy, but are actively involved in decorating, planning special meals, making tree ornaments and even baking for the holidays. At Willow Ridge, the Elders are truly “home for the holidays.”
Willow Ridge is composed of two Green House homes. Each home provides 24-hour nursing care in ten private rooms with private bathrooms located around a central hearth/dining room and kitchen. Like in so many homes during the holidays, the kitchen and dining room table become the center for food, fellowship and reminiscing.
In a December 15, 2014 New York Times article entitled The Green House Effect: Homes for the Elderly to Thrive, the author highlights some of the unique aspects of living in a Green House home. The writer states, “(Elders) participate, when able, in food preparation and eat in a communal setting that is more like a home dining room than a cafeteria. Unlike the regimented meals in nursing homes, Green House residents are free to choose when to eat.”
The holidays can be especially difficult for some people. This is often exacerbated for elders living in traditional
long-term care facilities. Loss is keenly felt during seasons when family traditions and social gatherings are no longer possible. The challenges of sharing a room with a roommate also are compounded during the holidays. How does one decorate ½ a room? Where can gifts be exchanged festively? Where can the extended family share a meal together?
The elders, their families and staff at Willow Ridge work together to provide activities and events that help fill some of the voids felt during the holidays. It is not uncommon for the families of elders living at Willow Ridge to plan holiday potluck meals together. Impromptu caroling around the hearth often happens. Families can reserve the den to open gifts together or skype other family members. Each elder room can be decorated to her or his preference.
A year ago, Frieda House (one of the homes at Willow Ridge) celebrated the holidays with an “open house” and invited family and friends to join them in singing carols around the piano, playing table games, enjoying Christmas cookies and a trip around town to view the Christmas lights. There was a festive mood in the house as several families sang Silver Bells and Away in a Manger at the piano as the daughter of Christine, one of the Elders, played the piano. Another Elder, Doris, enjoyed cookies and conversation around the dining room table with her daughter and two grandchildren. As is typical at most family gatherings, young children ran through the house, their eyes all aglow, knowing that Santa was on his way. After returning from seeing the Christmas lights in Bluffton, another Elder, Durand, headed straight to the kitchen for some fudge and buckeyes.
In addition to the Open House at Willow Ridge, Elders living there have enjoyed a number of activities and events during the Christmas season including:
• A trip to see the Christmas tree display at the Allen County Museum
• A carol sing-along and craft activity with local Boy Scouts, baking gingerbread cookies and snowmen
• Christmas trivia supper
• Elder/Staff Christmas Meal
• Making snow globes with a craft club
• Family Christmas Day meal
• Barberettes singing at Betty House
In deciding whether or not to pursue the Green House philosophy, Laura Voth, CEO of Mennonite Home Communities of Ohio stated, “When we toured the first Green House homes in Tupelo, MS in 2004, we were struck by how much the houses felt like real homes. It fit so well with our mission of providing person-centered care and purposeful living in a Christian environment. We were convinced this is what the Elders of our communities deserved.”
Since opening in 2012, Willow Ridge has been well received by the community. “We have been full since April, 2013 when we received our licenses from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS),” states Rhonda Wolpert, Administrator of Willow Ridge. “When the Ohio Department of Health did their annual survey last year, they were impressed by the real-home atmosphere as well as the quality of care. In fact, they could hardly believe they were in a nursing home,” Wolpert reported.
Much of the reason for the positive survey can be attributed to the excellent care-givers and the staffing model that is used. Care givers (called Shahbaz in the Green House model) are universal workers meaning that they are involved in all aspects of managing the household. Kind of like the moms and dads of the house, they do laundry, prepare
meals, and do light housekeeping in addition to providing direct Elder care. This provides increased interaction with the Elders, allowing the Shahbaz to get to know the Elders they serve more fully. There is also consistency in staffing which means the same Shahbazim (plural for Shahbaz) care for the same Elders nearly every day. Each Shahbaz is responsible for just five Elders whereas in many traditional nursing homes an aid typically cares for 7-15 elders.
The unique philosophy and environment of the Green House homes makes it possible for Elders like Christine, Doris, Durand and others to say with sincerity, “It’s good to be home for the holidays.”
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on November 25th, 2015
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on November 23rd, 2015
“This is my home,” said Kay Larmor, an elder who currently lives at Porter Hills Green House homes. “And I feel cared for.”
The New York Times recently explored the movement toward smaller nursing home residences, highlighting The Green House Project as the premiere example of this trend, “Green House homes were developed from a blank sheet of paper,” said Scott Brown, Director of Outreach at The Green House Project. The results, he said, have been encouraging. Studies show that residents have higher-quality lives and significantly fewer hospital readmissions.
“This is the way that elders want to be cared for,” said Audrey Weiner, chief executive of Jewish Home Lifecare, who will open 22 Green House homes in Manhattan. Currently there are 185 Green House homes operating in 28 states; an additional 150 are in development. That compares with about 15,700 nursing homes in the United States housing 1.4 million people. There is still much work to do to make Green House homes an option for elders in every community. Whether you are an advocate, provider or developer, visit www.thegreenhouseproject.org to learn how you can get involved.
Congratulations to Rebecca Priest, St. John’s Administrator Named in Top 40 Under 40 by Rochester Business Journal in New York
By Mary Hopfner-Thomas / Posted on November 20th, 2015
Many of you have probably heard Rebecca Priest on a Green House webinar or have seen her presentations at Annual Green House meetings…so it comes as no surprise that the business community in Rochester, New York selected her as one of their honorees.
More than 800 folks attended the 21st annual Rochester Business Journal 40 under 40 luncheon on November 19th. The event is designed to celebrate leaders younger than 40 years old who demonstrate real leadership skills in their workplace.
Rebecca was the first Guide for the two Green House homes in Penfield, New York. The Penfield homes are part of St. John’s Living. The homes were the first to be built in an established community away from the main legacy nursing home.
We congratulate Rebecca on this wonderful honor and look forward to her continued success in the field of aging!
By Rachel Klumpp / Posted on November 14th, 2015
Terry Rogers, President & CEO of Episcopal Foundation of Jefferson County, in Birmingham, AL was recently highlighted in The Green House Project‘s Leadership webinar series. His organization includes, St. Martin’s in the Pines, a continuing care retirement community and home care service in Birmingham, with nine Green House cottages.
Terry’s inspiration for a career in health came from observing his mother as caregiver to family members and neighbors, graduate from nursing school, and enter the home health profession. After graduating from The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Terry began his healthcare administration career in business and operations positions with home health agencies, hospitals, and the Episcopal Foundation of Jefferson County, where he has served as President & CEO since 2000. In addition, he serves as a member of the Community Advisory Committee for the University of Alabama Comprehensive Center on Healthy Aging, the National Public Policy Congress, the Budget and Finance Committee, and the Business Strategy Council for LeadingAge, in addition to his service as member of the Green House Project Peer Network Steering Committee.
Terry began his career with St. Martin’s with a formal long range planning effort aimed at redeveloping the campus and replacing the skilled nursing building. His colleague, Linda Robertson, an Eden Alternative Associate, directed him towards the work of The Green House Project in Tupelo, Mississippi. After attending a workshop in Tupelo, he returned to Birmingham to inform the board about this innovative model of care and identify what a new nursing home may look like on their campus. Terry describes that seeing truly is believing; the enthusiasm for the model carried throughout the board and to the broader community and together they were committed to developing the first Green House homes in Alabama. He attributes this success to formally engaging with The Green House Project team to aid in the collaborative design process of their multi-story Green House homes and assist in overcoming regulatory hurdles by training state regulators about the Green House model.
During the development process, Terry notes that “we had a steep hill to climb” but felt confident given the robust training opportunities provided by The Green House Project team and the value of being associated with the model given the research supporting its success. He continues to be an advocate for the model integrity process and the importance of the Green House trademark as a method of accountability throughout the Peer Network to ensure the original guiding principles are instilled in every community. “We didn’t get into The Green House model because it was easy, we got into this because it was the right thing. Changing in the right way is why we’re having the outcomes we’re having. If we start letting “the right way” be diluted, the outcomes are going to change… we think The Green House model works and we want to do it in the right way and we want everyone in the Peer Network to do it the right way as well.”
At St. Martin’s, continuing team education is key in maintaining the integrity of the model and helps leadership “keep it fresh.” Terry describes that continuing assessment and evaluation creates an opportunity for leaders to revisit the beginnings of why they started and to continually engage in action plans for improvements. As the “keepers of the philosophy”, leaders must problem solve, motivate, and coach their teams through consistent messaging of the model. Since opening, St. Martin’s aims to serve as a role model and brand ambassador to encourage and invigorate The Green House model into future organizations and help them throughout their journey.
Upon opening, Terry observed the model’s financial success as a result of the shift in operational cost structure and the flattened hierarchy that creates a “middle management shake-up.” Furthermore, adding Green House cottages into the St. Martin’s continuum of care created a competitive advantage that drives demand at all levels of care, resulting in a corresponding increase in their assisted living and independent living occupancy of approximately 5%. This influx of revenue allows St. Martin’s to promote the community giveback component of their mission to ensure that Elders have the opportunity to live in their cottages regardless of their payor status.
In terms of quality of care, Terry describes that “there’s a little bit of magic taking place” in their Green House cottages that yields better outcomes. Specifically, their 100% occupancy rate, higher family satisfaction survey scores, and positive clinical outcomes are a result of better, deeper knowing in their Green House homes. The Green House principles “just makes sense.” Despite the Green House model’s success at St. Martin’s, Terry notes that they can always do better and are constantly seeking improvements. He is pleased to be a part of the Peer Network and associated with other courageous change agents that are never satisfied in knowing all they need to know in caring for elders.
A lifelong resident of Birmingham, Terry loves fishing, Crimson Tide football (Roll Tide!), participating in barbecue competitions, and spending as much time as possible by the lake with his family. He is presenting at the 2015 Annual Meeting with Green House Project team members Susan Frazier and Marla DeVries on the Model Enrichment Resource and Integrity Tool (MERIT) and the research that supports this process for sustainability. To hear the full interview>>
By Mary Hopfner-Thomas / Posted on November 13th, 2015
For the first time since Rhode Island imposed a moratorium on additional nursing home beds nearly 20 years ago, a state approved project is getting underway in East Greenwich. Saint Elizabeth Home broke ground on October 27th and will build four Green House homes.
“It has been a long road to get to today,” said Steven J. Horowitz, President and CEO of Saint Elizabeth Community. “We first heard about Green House homes in 2006, but it all began in earnest for our organization in 2009 when we took a group of our nursing home resident on an overnight beach vacation to Cape Cod.” Horowitz says, “This showed us how quality of life for nursing home residents could greatly be enhanced through smaller home environments and empowered/cross trained employees.”
Each home will have 12 Elders and will be built next to the existing Saint Elizabeth Home. They will include private bedrooms and bath, along with a common hearth and dining area and open kitchen. There will be a front porch and back patio area for easy access by the elders.
At the ground breaking, Saint Elizabeth Home Chief Operating Officer Matthew Trimble said, “the unfortunate consequence of the moratorium was the stifling of innovation.” In 2010 legislation was passed that would allow for beds from skilled nursing facilities that closed, or that were taken out of use, to be held by the RI Department of Health for potential future use. It opened the door for innovation and the team at the Saint Elizabeth Home was more than ready to present their ideas!
By Mary Hopfner-Thomas / Posted on November 13th, 2015
October 21st was a beautiful day for a ribbon cutting ceremony and all those who attended the Morris Hall Meadows Grand Opening couldn’t have been more pleased with the homes and the weather!
Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., along with representatives from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Green House Project, local, county and township officials all offered their words of praise and support for the six new skilled nursing Green House homes. Ten elders will live in each home, which will include their own private bedroom and bath, a central heath area with a fireplace, full kitchen with home cooked meals and a dining area.
“It’s all about leadership — leaders who are willing to push through the status quo, to believe that there is a better way and a different way to grow old in America. It’s about leaders who say, ‘we’re going to defy the ancient stereotypes … and we are going to grab hold of the very best for our elders, and it really fits your mission so well, because it’s all about maximizing the quality of human life.” –Susan Frazier Ryan, Senior Director, The Green House Project.
One of those leaders for Morris Hall Meadows is the CEO for Morris Hall/St. Lawrence, Inc., Darlene Hanley. She has been a champion for the project and was most pleased to tell the crowd that day that Lawrence Township has the distinction of having the first Green House homes in central New Jersey. (Green House Living at Green Hill in West Orange, New Jersey were the first Green House homes in the state.) The ribbon cutting event was covered by The Monitor in Trenton, New Jersey and includes a photo gallery of the event.
There are now 185 Green House homes across the country in 28 states.