By Meaghan McMahon / Posted on May 26th, 2015
The Older Americans Act (OAA) authorization has been expired for the last four years. The services and programs that are receiving funding under the Act are in desperate need of increased resources to fund the nearly 12 million older adults in this country that wish to remain in their homes and local communities. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the OAA, LeadingAge has asked its members and supporters of Older Americans Month to contact their elected officials and ask that they fund, renew and protect OAA services.
LeadingAge has provided the following message that can be delivered to lawmakers:
“The Older Americans Act is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. As a constituent, I urge Senator/Representative_____ to fund, renew, and protect the Older Americans Act by restoring appropriations to at least the fiscal year 2010 levels, passing a bipartisan reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, and removing the continued threat of across-the-board sequestration cuts. Thank you for your consideration.”
Looking for more ways to get involved? Visit the LeadingAge Advocacy website page.
By Meaghan McMahon / Posted on May 8th, 2015
Gerontological Nurse, Green House Guide and RN Supervisor, Ann Wagle, from the VA Illiana Green House homes in Danville, IL will present a poster on “The Role of Nurses in the Green House home” during the NOVA 2015 Annual Meeting this June in Washington D.C. The poster will outline the impact of the Green House model on Veterans, families and staff. It will also describe actions that support and propel cultural transformation within long-term care in the VA system.
In her poster proposal Ann described how Green House homes are currently serving Veterans across the United States and future plans for the Danville campus:
“VA Illiana was the first VA in the nation to adopt the Green House model, although at least five additional VA sites have either opened Green House homes or are under design/construction, including VA’s in Chicago, Milwaukee, Tomah, Tuscaloosa, and Lexington. At VA Illiana, two more Green House homes are currently under construction, and an additional two homes are in the design phase, resulting in a total of 60 beds within the total of 100 long-term care beds at VA Illiana. One of these new Green House homes will include Veterans with short-stay skilled care needs.”
This presentation will be an excellent compliment to the recent THRIVE research results on the role of the nurse in Green House homes that The Green House Project has been sharing with our Peer Network of adopters.
By Meaghan McMahon / Posted on May 7th, 2015
The University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing created the Center for Aging Research and Education (CARE) in response to the rapidly expanding care needs of our aging population. The center works toward transformation by using “…nursing leadership, discovery, education, and practice…” to support happiness, health and security for all older adults.
In a recent online post by the CARE team entitled, “What Makes a Green House Home? How You Decide Matters,” the author considers the persistence and commitment necessary to take the philosophical tenets of culture change and put them into practice.
The post describes how UW-Madison School of Nursing Associate Dean Barb Bowers, PhD, RN, FAAN and research manager Kim Nolet, MS have conducted research that analyzes the “lived experience” that the Green House model now has after more than 10 years as the pinnacle of culture change.
“By interviewing 166 staff members at 11 Green House homes, Bowers and Nolet identified patterns of problem solving as important to the erosion or reinforcement of the Green House model over time.”
The researchers found that along with the architecture of the Green House home, it is collaboration across the organization and between nurses and Shahbazim that allows the significant benefits of this model to be realized.
Both Bowers and Nolet are a part of The Research Initiative Valuing Eldercare (THRIVE). Interested in learning more about the THRIVE initiative? Take a look at this recent blog post which discusses the importance of the soon to be published THRIVE research results.
By Meaghan McMahon / Posted on April 24th, 2015
“By 2030, twenty percent of our population will be over the age of 65. And by 2050, there will be 27 million people in this country who will need assistance with everyday living. As a nation, we cannot afford to not have a plan for this.”
This is how Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), challenged the audience to consider the reality of our Elder Boom during her Age of Dignity book talk last week at the AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C.
According to Ai-jen, one plan that will provide stability and protection for the most vulnerable among us is the creation of a national care grid to increase creative solutions and choices for those in need of long-term care. Some examples of innovative organizations that will make up the fabric of this grid are Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs), Villages and Green House homes.
As co-director of Caring Across Generations , Ai-jen encouraged the audience to recognize the importance of building a national movement to improve care. She explained that we must protect what we have built so far and work together to create what we will need in the future.
By Meaghan McMahon / Posted on March 3rd, 2015
In the latest issue of TIME Magazine, author and director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) Ai-jen Poo, discusses the coming Elder boom and how older adults and their care partners deserve to live with dignity. When asked what exactly is wrong with today’s nursing homes she replies, “There are great nursing homes. The Green House Project is a different kind of model. But those are, I think, more the exception than the rule.”
As Green House adopters across the country work every day to create caring homes for meaningful lives, we must work together to make this model the rule rather than the exception. How do we ensure that Green House homes are available in every community across America? Quite simply we need to make the model an integrated extension of the community itself where Elders and their care partners enjoy a relationship based on the power of interdependence.
“We must take action now to plan for our grandparents’ futures as well as our own futures. When we really examine the scope and scale of the coming elder boom, we won’t have a choice but to make care a priority. Everyone will be touched by this change in the American demographic. We’re going to have to rethink everything- how we live, work, and play, and especially how we organize our family and community life: how we take care of each other across generations.”
Now is the time to come together to make profound and lasting change in the world of long-term services and supports.
Are you ready?
By Meaghan McMahon / Posted on February 25th, 2015
As Elders living in Green House homes age in place it is important that we resist the urge to revert back to institutional practices to solve the obstacles that may be associated with their changing care needs. During a Peer Network webinar last month, adopters had the opportunity to hear Dr. Bill Thomas discuss the topic of increasing acuity of Elders in Green House homes and his recommendations for sustaining the Green House core value of real home.
Participants on the call were asked to think about Florence Nightingale and the new approach and standard of practice that she brought to the existing institutions of her time. Dr. Thomas believes that we are descendants of her philosophy of care and therefore must be prepared to care for Elders in sickness and in health.
A few recommendations he provided during the conversation included:
– Having a clear understanding of the advanced care directives of Elders living in Green House homes and what they want when their health changes acutely. It is important to have these conversations in advance of illness and revisit the topic as needed
– To better understand how quality acute care services are provided in a home, have conversations with the hospice and home care agencies in your community
– Understand from Elders and their loved ones whether they want maximum care or maximum treatment at the end of life. It isn’t possible to provide both simultaneously.
In many institutional long-term care settings a person is placed in the “sick role” and then kept there for the remainder of their life. Green House homes are unique in that they are a place of recovery, rejuvenation and a dedication to the belief that all people have the right to live with dignity, autonomy and purpose until their last breath.
By Meaghan McMahon / Posted on January 29th, 2015
In a blog post earlier this month, Executive Director Nora Super began to outline the goals and events that will occur as a part of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA). The WHCOA happens only once every decade, so you don’t want to miss this opportunity to have your voice heard! The regional forums, announced this month, will provide a venue for the public to discuss issues in the aging field that are most important to them including: retirement security, healthy aging, long-term services and supports, Elder abuse and supporting caregivers.
More specific details of the forums are to follow but the locations and dates are the following:
Tampa, Florida (February 19th)
Phoenix, Arizona (March 31st)
Seattle, Washington (April 9th)
Cleveland, Ohio (April 27th)
Boston, Massachusetts (May 28th)
According to the WHCOA website, “The regional forums are co-sponsored by AARP and being planned in coordination with the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, a coalition of more than 70 of the nation’s leading organizations serving older Americans. While participation is by invitation, all of the events will be live webcast to engage as many people as possible.”
We encourage all Green House adopters and culture change advocates to engage in the regional forums by watching the webcast and using social media during that day and the weeks leading up to the event. Stay tuned for details and ideas to assist you with that process! In addition, consider having an event at your Green House homes or in your community during the same time that a regional forum is occurring and invite local legislators and press to attend. The more Green House buzz near each regional forum, the more national attention we will receive as others recognize that now is the time to push for radical changes in aging and long-term care!
By Meaghan McMahon / Posted on December 29th, 2014
Earlier this month, freelance writer, editor and journalist Beth Baker posted a blog on the Next Avenue website which explored the role of the Shahbaz in Green House homes. In her post, “Reimagining What a Nursing Home Can Be,” Baker explores how the culture change movement, and specifically the Green House model, has empowered staff that care for Elders needing skilled nursing care.
For Beth, the Green House model is especially unique because of its emphasis on elevating the role of care partners.
“The Green House is perhaps best known for its homey environment… But even more important than the setting may be the reimagined role of the caregivers who work there.” She goes on to say that beyond just the new title of Shahbaz, front line care aides in Green House homes are given far more responsibility and respect than what is typically seen in traditional skilled nursing care.
Steve McAlilly, CEO of Methodist Senior Services, Inc., shared his thoughts on the Green House model for Beth’s book Old Age in a New Age saying, “One thing I love is the Shahbazim. They have become these amazing professional people. I think they were stuck in jobs that were too small for them.”
You can hear Beth Baker share more of her insight on aging in America and the Green House model by listening to her closing plenary speech from our Annual Meeting in Memphis this year.
By Meaghan McMahon / Posted on December 22nd, 2014
Word traveled quickly last week after The New York Times published an article by Jane Brody entitled, “The Green House Effect: Homes for the Elderly to Thrive.” It took only several days after the piece was published to our Facebook page for over 16,000 people to see the article, many of whom liked or shared Brody’s insights with their own social networks.
The author creates a clear and powerful image of the Green House model and its core values with support from interviews with Dr. Bill Thomas and Steve McAlilly, CEO of Mississippi Methodist Senior Services in Tupelo, MS. By showing readers that Green House homes provide Elders with a nurturing and respectful environment where they can continue to thrive, Brody exposes the “medicalization of old age” that many of the 1.5 million Americans living and working in nursing homes experience each day.
Today, nearly 2,000 Elders across the nation are living in Green House homes in partnership with caring Shahbazim, clinical support teams and families. The swell of national recognition that we have received over the past year is a clear indication that the Green House model is well positioned to experience rapid growth and adoption in the new year as Americans embrace the power of meaningful life, real home and empowered staff as they age.
By Meaghan McMahon / Posted on December 9th, 2014
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.
By Meaghan McMahon / Posted on November 4th, 2014
Last month, The Green House Project helped sponsor the Long Term Care Community Coalition’s Sixth Annual Reception which honored the life and work of Mary Jane Koren, M.D., M.P.H. at the Alzheimer’s Association chapter in New York City. Dr. Koren’s experience includes her work as Vice President for LTC Quality Improvement at The Commonwealth Fund and her position as past chair of Advancing Excellence: Long-Term Care Collaborative.
During her acceptance speech, Dr. Koren shared that, “…between 1950 and 2050, there will be a 10-fold increase in the percent of the population over 85, which is exactly the age cohort most dependent on long-term care services and supports.” She argued that the best way to address this need is to move away from a model that “…puts institutional priorities ahead of resident choice…” and instead follow Dr. Bill Thomas’ lead in creating long-term care models that alleviate loneliness, helplessness and boredom. She shared with the audience that, “Bill Thomas’ philosophy, even at that early stage was, for me an epiphany. I suddenly ‘got’ OBRA’87 in a way I never had before.”
You can read Dr. Koren’s full speech here.
Congratulations to Dr. Koren for her work as a thought leader and innovator in the aging field! We appreciate the work you have done to make the Green House model a reality for so many elders nationwide.
By Meaghan McMahon / Posted on October 13th, 2014
The Green House Project is proud to help support the Long Term Care Community Coalition’s Sixth Annual Reception celebrating the life and work of Mary Jane Koren, M.D., M.P.H. at the Alzheimer’s Association chapter in New York City.
The Coalition is honoring Dr. Koren at a reception on October 22nd for her dedication and passion for improving the lives of seniors in her work and research. Some of her accomplishments include her work as Vice President for LTC Quality Improvement at The Commonwealth Fund and her position as past chair of Advancing Excellence: Long-Term Care Collaborative.
We are excited to celebrate Dr. Koren’s accomplishments and support the Coalition’s mission to improve care, quality of life and dignity for elders and the disabled.