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The Green House Project Blog

Data Collection for THRIVE Projects is Now Complete

The Green House Project has partnered with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s THRIVE (The Research Initiative Valuing Eldercare) collaborative to learn more about the Green House model as well as other models of care. Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the THRIVE team is conducting a series of interrelated research projects that together will comprise the largest research effort undertaken to date in Green House homes. Each quarter, a member of the THRIVE team will contribute a blog post to the Green House Project website.

Data collection for the THRIVE projects is now complete, and the research team is analyzing the results.  The THRIVE team will share research findings in upcoming articles in a special issue of the journal Health Services Research, and through conference and webinar presentations and blog posts.  In 2014, conference presentations will include those at annual meetings of LeadingAge (October), and the Gerontological Society of America, and the Green House (both in November).  This blog post is part of our series devoted to explaining research terms so that non-researchers can better understand these articles, presentations, and posts.  This post focuses on quantitative research – research based in numbers – and explains the important topic of “significance.”

Quantitative research findings are often discussed in terms of their statistical significance.  What does it mean to say a finding is significant?

Let’s consider an example.   A researcher thinks that there may be more female than male elders living in Green House homes.  This hunch is called a hypothesis.  The researcher visits all the Green House homes in the state, tallies the numbers of females (85) and males (15) and performs a statistical test to compare males and females.  The statistical test will result in a p-value (probability value) expressing whether the difference is large enough to indicate that it isn’t just by chance.

 

To better understand what it means to have a “large enough” difference, think of it this way:  if the number of females was 52, and the number of males was 48, the difference between these numbers is pretty small, and it’s not likely statistically significant.  The question is, is the difference between 85 and 15 large enough to suggest that there are statistically more females than males living in Green House homes?  A difference of 85 to 15 is probably large enough to not be by chance (i.e., it is statistically significant), whereas a difference of 52 to 48 is so small that it quite likely occurred by chance.

It’s also important to realize that findings that are statistically significant may not be clinically significant.  Clinical significance means that the information is important for clinical care.  In terms of care, does it matter that there are more females than males residing in Green House homes?  It does matter, for example, if women tend to be more depressed than men, or to have more family members.  However, if there are no clinical implications related to the difference, than they are statistically, but not clinically, significant.

The bottom line is that it’s important to carefully consider the meaning of all findings, and use your knowledge and judgment to interpret when differences matter and when they don’t.

Stay tuned for the next THRIVE blog post.  In the meantime, if you have questions about this post, or suggestions for future ones, please let us know.

Questions about THRIVE can be directed to Lauren Cohen (lauren_cohen@unc.edu or 919-843-8874).

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Alive Inside, MUSIC & MEMORY℠ and the GREEN HOUSE® Project

The film Alive Inside, which documents “music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity,” is now available on Netflix. It is a touching documentary that “follows social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, as he fights against a broken healthcare system to demonstrate music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it.” Alive Inside was featured on Dr. Bill Thomas’ Second Wind Tour, which also included guest presenters, Susan Frazier and David Farrell of THE GREEN HOUSE® Project.

Alive Inside inspired the Music and Memory Program. MUSIC & MEMORY℠ “is a non-profit organization that brings personalized music into the lives of the elderly or infirm through digital music technology, vastly improving quality of life.” Their purpose is to “train nursing home staff and other elder care professionals, as well as family caregivers, how to create and provide personalized playlists using iPods and related digital audio systems that enable those struggling with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other cognitive and physical challenges to reconnect with the world through music-triggered memories.” The results are stunning and  powerful.

The Wisconsin Music and Memory Program is a state-wide program “designed to bring personalized music to individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias.” So far, 100 nursing homes have been certified as MUSIC & MEMORY℠ facilities, funded through the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. The Green House home, Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh, was accepted to become a certified MUSIC & MEMORY℠ facility. This program requires “nursing home staff to attend a series of three 90-minute webinars, taught by MUSIC & MEMORY℠ founding Executive Director, Dan Cohen, MSW.”

The Music and Memory Program is changing the way people with dementia are cared for, by unlocking words, memories and thoughts that can’t always be accessed in an institutional setting. Here at the GREEN HOUSE® Project, we are excited about the change in care that this program can bring, and we look forward to seeing MUSIC & MEMORY℠ in every state.

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Grand Opening Celebration Takes Place for Colorado’s First Green House Homes – A Story of Partnership and Vision

The beautiful Rocky Mountains provide a wonderful view for Elders that will live in The Green House Homes at Mirasol in Loveland, Colorado.  That view will only be matched by the person-directed living they will experience in this innovative model of skilled nursing care.  Built on the campus of the Mirasol Senior Living Community, there will be six homes with each including: ten private bedrooms and bath, open kitchen, a hearth area along with a variety of other open spaces that will embrace socializing and the ability to live life in a meaningful way.

“From my own personal experience of trying to provide the best care for my parents, I discovered that aging in America presents many challenges.  I knew that there had to be a better option than the traditional institutional models for elder care.  There is.  It’s called The Green House Project.  As we began our vision-quest, we didn’t know how we were going to make this happen.  We just knew it had to be done,” said Sam Betters, Executive Director, Loveland Housing Authority.

Senior Director for The Green House Project, David Farrell, was on hand for the festivities on October 21st along with a number of other state and local leaders in Colorado.

David said, “These homes will help the Loveland Housing Authority meet a gap in its continuum of care-skilled nursing and allow Mirasol residents to remain a part of their existing community, deriving the benefits of receiving a higher level of care while still living independent and social lives.”

The Green House Project is part of Capital Impact Partners, a certified community development financial institution, which led the financing for this $17 million dollar project.

“As a mission driven lender, this project fits well into our larger strategy to build strong, vibrant communities of opportunity for underserved populations. We are not only proud to help bring the Green House model to Colorado, but also the fact that a large percentage of the residents are Medicaid eligible,” said Terry Simonette, CEO of Capital Impact Partners. “It took a number of partners, and use of innovative tools like New Market Tax Credits to make this happen.”

Funding for the project included:  $2 million dollar grant from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, program related investments from the AARP Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, $2.5 million New Market Tax Credits, $3.4 million in tax credit equity from JPMorgan Chase plus a land donation by the Loveland Housing Authority.

We congratulate all who helped in the process of making these homes possible…and welcome everyone to the Green House family!

Click here to read more about this project and why leaders from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and the AARP Foundation were most pleased to make this development a reality!

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The Green House Homes at Legacy Village Win Celebrate Arkansas Magazine Award

Congratulations to The Green House Homes at Legacy Village! Celebrate Arkansas Magazine has announced Legacy Village as their winner for “Very BEST Award for Retirement Living.”  This reader’s choice award speaks to the consumer driven demand for quality long term care that offers a real home to elders.  We are so proud to see Legacy Village recognized for the way they are changing elder living for the better, with real home, meaningful life and empowered staff.  You can look for the article announcing The Green House Homes at Legacy Village as the winner of the “Very BEST Award for Retirement Living” in the December issue of Celebrate Arkansas Magazine.

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White House Conference on Aging in 2015

2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security. The 2015 White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) is an opportunity to recognize the importance of these key programs as well as to look ahead to the issues that will help shape the landscape for older Americans for the next decade.  Four major areas of focus are:

Retirement security is a vitally important issue. Financial security in retirement provides essential peace of mind for older Americans, but requires attention during our working lives to ensure that we are well prepared for retirement.

Healthy aging will be all the more important as baby boomers age. As medical advances progress, the opportunities for older Americans to maintain their health and vitality should progress as well and community supports, including housing, are important tools to promote this vitality.

Long-term services and supports remain a priority. Older Americans overwhelmingly prefer to remain independent in the community as they age. They need supports to do so, including a caregiving network and well-supported workforce.

Elder justice is important given that seniors, particularly the oldest older Americans, can be vulnerable to financial exploitation, abuse, and neglect. The Elder Justice Act was enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, and we need to realize its vision of protecting seniors from scam artists and others seeking to take advantage of them.

Recently, Green House Project, Chief Operating Officer, Susan Frazier, met with WHCOA Executive Director, Nora Super, and Communications Director, Michele Patrick.  During this meeting, they talked about how The Green House model highlights so many of the key areas addressed in the conference objectives, especially, Healthy Aging and Long-term services and supports.  The Green House Project plans to be visible and involved in all of the activities surrounding WHCOA, and will amplify the voice of the elders and staff who are living this innovative model every day.

The Green House Project is an innovative model of skilled nursing care that offers high quality care and saves Medicare and Medicaid dollars. In an era of budget deficits and a growing aging population, our country needs to identify effective models that can save money and yet offer choice, quality and independence to our nation’s seniors. After viewing this short video you will have a sense of the model and how it differs from large, traditional, institutional-style nursing homes. In his recent book, Being Mortal, Dr. Atul Gawande examines the loneliness, helplessness and boredom so often experienced by those living out the end of their lives in long-term care institutions and he argues that this should not be the norm in our country. He writes that Green House homes are “…designed to pursue that idea that a life worth living can be created…by focusing on food, homemaking, and befriending others.”

Nora Super and her team have been invited to visit Green House homes as they travel the country and learn more about the issues that are important to various consumers, policy makers and stakeholders.  To learn more about the local, state, regional and policy events as well as other ways to be involved, visit http://whitehouseconferenceonaging.gov/

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