A Theatre Metaphor for The Green House model

By / Posted on March 1st, 2012

By Ann Wagle, Illiana VA, Danville, IL

As I was thinking about The Green House Model of care relative to the Clinical Support Team (CST), the professions who support the wellness of the elder in partnership with the self managed work team, I was taken back to a recent experience in community theatre where my role in a production of “Hello Dolly” was that of pianist.

As I accompanied, I felt supportive of the cast, yet realizing that my goal was to be “invisible” while facilitating life and character to the music. If a cast member stumbled or forgot their line or musical note, I would cue them and offer additional support until they regained their place in the musical. If they increased the tempo, or took unexpected liberties with the music, my role was to follow them as they led the way through the story of the musical. Of course there are many individuals who are also backstage contributing to the success of the cast. There are those who stand at the edge of the stage providing the necessary prop just as the actor walks on stage. And where would we be without the light and sound folks who assure that those on stage can be heard and seen?

The CST in The Green House Model of care has a similar function to that of the stage/musical pit crew of a theater production. We must be always supportive to the elders so that their voice can be heard and their meaningful lives seen and respected by family and friends. We are to add spirit and hope to their days and provide them the ability to interdependently create the most of each day. The elder is the one in the spotlight, and those who support them, although invisible, are critical to the success of the lives of each elder. In addition, the supporting team finds tremendous gratification in enhancing, sustaining, and providing nurturing hope to the elder.