By Meg LaPorte / Posted on July 10th, 2019
Following is a repost of a blog by Carol Silver Elliott as it appeared in the Times of Israel on July 8.
What if we viewed elders as individuals with value and purpose? What if we stopped, as a society, seeing older adults as “them,” as people who are “less than” and who have little to contribute? How would that change our perception of older adults and how would that change our view of our own lives as we all, inevitably, age?
That’s the underlying premise of The Green House Project, an organization that’s been in existence for more than 15 years and whose goal is to transform care of older adults. Green House was founded by Dr. Bill Thomas, a geriatrician, who realized early in his career that the care we provide for elders can be radically different and radically improved.
Dr. Thomas began the Eden Alternative, bringing plants and animals into long term care settings, based on a theory that having something to look after and care for would have a positive effect on the residents. It did. But that was not the full answer. Dr. Thomas developed the concept for Green House and today there are hundreds of Green House homes across the United States and internationally.
Green House homes are founded on three core values, real home, meaningful life and empowered staff. Each of these play a role in making the most critical element work—creating a non-institutional, normal environment for elders, an environment that is not “homelike,” rather, it is home.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend a five day educator program provided by Green House. It’s a program called “core training” and it is something that every staff person who works in our organization will receive. The program was held in a new Green House development in Arkansas so we had the gift of both spending the week in an actual home that has not yet opened and visiting elders who live in the homes on that campus that have already opened.
While there was a lot of learning during that week (and a nearly 700 page teacher guide that we will use as we teach it), what really resonated with me is the understanding that this philosophy is not an “add on” or a “tweak” to what we do and what we provide. It is full immersion, it is changing the way we interact, think and approach elders.
To really create normal life for those who live with us, we must always remember to focus on strengths rather than disabilities. When we focus on what someone can do rather than what they can no longer do, it changes the equation dramatically. And that applies in every area from activities to care to dining and so much more. Giving people the opportunity to make choices, express themselves and enabling independence as much as possible, that’s one key elements that creates real home.
This is not an “add water and stir” approach, it’s not easy and it will be a major change in behavior and mindset for many of us. But talking with the elders who live in Green House homes, as well as the staff who work with them, one thing is clear. The results are worth the effort. The elders who live in these settings and can articulate it, told us about quality of life. They told us about feeling comfortable and at home, about the staff who felt like extended family, about the choices they were able to make about every aspect of their lives, about the family members who came to visit and felt as welcome as if they were still visiting them at home in the community. The staff echoed similar sentiments, the satisfaction of deeply knowing the elders with whom they work, the joy of being able to see and treat people as individuals and not room numbers or diagnoses, the ability to create “normal” every day. And those elders who can no longer use language as they once could, shared their feedback through the peace in their faces and the comfort they clearly found in the soothing environments of their home.
Maya Angelou wrote “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Those words have great meaning as we begin this transformational journey. They have great meaning as we think about the care we provide to elders and the possibilities. We can do better as caregivers, as families and as a society to remember that our elders are not “them,” rather that they are still an important part of “us.”
Here is a link to the original blog post: https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/transforming-the-experience/
By Admin / Posted on July 2nd, 2018
LITTLE ROCK, ARK. (PRWEB) JUNE 28, 2018
The Green House® Cottages of Poplar Grove (https://poplargrove.care/) announced today the planned Fall 2018 opening of the their long term and rehabilitative care facility in Little Rock, Arkansas. Poplar Grove is the first facility in Central Arkansas based on the Green House® model of care. (thegreenhouseproject.org)
“Poplar Grove is what the future of care can and should be for our elders,” said John Montgomery, Executive Director of Poplar Grove. “We’ve adopted this new model of care so that we can serve our community better than ever before, providing a higher quality of life for residents, as well as peace of mind for their families.”
The Green House® Cottages of Poplar Grove is creating over one hundred and forty new jobs in Central Arkansas. Commenting on the healthcare jobs being created Montgomery said: “We are looking for people who are passionate about the care and service they provide to others. You don’t necessarily need a background in healthcare to join our team. Do you love to cook for others? Do you love to plan and coordinate activities? Are you a registered nurse who has been anxiously waiting to transition into the new model of healthcare? We are looking for people who recognize the autonomy and dignity of care recipients and are passionate about creating a fantastic long term and rehabilitative care environment.”
Poplar Grove is built on the Green House® model of care, a revolutionary movement transforming skilled rehabilitation and nursing home care nationwide. The Green House® model has been highly acclaimed by many national experts and leading publications because it has been shown to deliver better health and satisfaction outcomes than traditional nursing homes (for more, see: (Green House Model Articles).
Here are five ways the Green House® Cottages of Poplar Grove is different from a traditional nursing home:
- A 1:4 direct care staff ratio, substantially more than the State/Federal average
- A small cottage environment with a maximum of 12 residents, living life to its fullest in their own home with private rooms, private bathroom and showers, made to order, “family-style” meals based on elder’s choice… and so much more
- A philosophy of care rooted in meaningful relationships, holistic care and a deep knowledge of each elder and their specific needs, produces a better quality of life and care
- Superior equipment and technology
- Each staff member undergoes a minimum of 120 hours of additional education and training in areas such as nutritional services; senior care techniques and dementia to become geriatric care specialists.
The Green House® Cottages of Poplar Grove in Little Rock will join the Green House® Cottages of Belle Meade in Paragould, AR, The Green House® of Southern Hills in Rison, AR and the Green House Cottages of Wentworth Place in Magnolia, AR as the fourth Green House® model facility developed by Southern Administrative Services, LLC in Arkansas.
“We are proud to bring this transformative new model of long term care to Central Arkansas,” said John Ponthie, Founding Member and Managing Director of Southern Administrative Services LLC. “By delivering outstanding care and creating a real home environment and providing elders with dignity, autonomy and choice, Poplar Grove will provide our Elders with the best quality of life possible.”
About The Green House® Cottages of Poplar Grove
The Green House® Cottages of Poplar Grove (https://poplargrove.care/) create loving homes where Elders are supported by quality care, choice, and positive relationships. In our homes, the Elder, not a calendar on the wall, decides the schedule of each Elder. Our caregivers are dedicated to the homes, helping to create meaningful relationships with our Elders. While Poplar Grove is licensed and skilled nursing community, the cottages are designed to look like the homes in the surrounding neighborhood. Homes feature high ceilings in the hearth rooms of each cottage, large windows throughout for natural light, and private bedrooms, each with a private en-suite full bathroom.
Executive Director – The Green House® Cottages of Poplar Grove
501- 454 – 5604
CEO- Bespoke Health Media
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on May 8th, 2018
Update, 05/18: The Green House Senior Director, Susan Ryan was honored to join Leslie G. Moldow, FAIA, LEED of Perkins Eastman and Mary Muñoz of Ziegler at the LeadingAge California conference to speak about The Small House Pilot, and how providers can seize this moment to enhance the way elders in California age. Collaborating with strong leaders in our field makes our collective voice louder and our impact greater.
Originally Published 01/18
It is a pivotal moment in California’s history. The Small House Pilot Program is now live, and it has the potential to clearly demonstrate that there is a better way to deliver skilled nursing care. This profound opportunity requires that nursing home providers across the state, take a stand, and say, NOW IS THE TIME!
The wait has been long, making this moment all the more powerful. In 2013, through a tenacious journey, Mt. San Antonio Gardens became the first Green House Project in California. The work that they did to make regulatory gains with stakeholders across the state blazed a trail and were codified in late 2012, as Governor Brown signed into law Senate Bill 1228 (introduced by Sen. Elaine Alquist). The bill created The Small House Skilled Nursing Facilities Pilot Program, which authorized the development and operation of 10 pilot projects to deliver skilled nursing care in smaller, residential settings, “It puts the ‘home’ back into nursing home”, said Senator Alquist (D-San Jose). However, it wasn’t until early 2018, that the regulations to support this bill were released, and the request for applications is now open to the public. As a perennial advocate for elder directed, relationship rich living, The Green House Project is eager to support every effort to ensure the success of this opportunity.
The Green House Project has come to be recognized as the leader of the small house movement to create a high-quality, cost-effective, human-scale alternative to the traditional nursing home. Studies of the Green House model have found that:
• Residents have a better quality of life and receive higher-quality care than residents in traditional nursing homes.
• Staff report higher job satisfaction and increased likelihood of remaining in their jobs.
• Family members are willing to drive farther and pay more to have access to a Green House home for a loved one.
Real Home, Meaningful Life, and Empowered Staff: these core values align well with the regulations of the Small House Pilot in California, and they drive change in Green House homes, creating quality outcomes, consumer demand and preferred partnerships in the healthcare system.
With 15 years of expertise in design, education and evaluation, The Green House Project is a strong partner to support the expedited timeline and in-depth requirements of this pilot. The first deadline for submission is June, 2018. Design tools, like The Green House Prototype, along with educational protocols and policy and procedure expertise, will ensure an organization is able to successfully navigate this application. Susan Ryan, Senior Director of The Green House Project says, “The Green House Project specializes in a comprehensive cultural transformation that shifts the beliefs, behaviors, and systems to ensure a lasting investment across an organizational system. It is more than simply a process from ‘this’ to ‘that’; a real transformation unleashes the best of what can be by accessing collective wisdom.” The national initiative stands ready to support nursing home innovators in California, to ensure better lives for elders and those who work closest to them.
With California’s number of individuals 85 and older expected to triple by 2030, the market for Green House homes and others like them is rapidly growing. Consumer demand for the kind and quality of care that The Green House model provides has long existed, but until recently, California’s regulatory and approval process had been unable to accommodate non-traditional models of care. In fact, it took almost seven years for Mt. San Antonio Gardens to gain the approval it needed from multiple local and state agencies. Inspired by their lessons learned, Senate Bill 1228, and the newly released regulations, will enable innovation without obstacle. The Green House Project calls every organization interested in creating a real home, meaningful life and empowered work opportunities for the citizens of California to contact us, and together we will forge a trail to a brighter future.
By Meg LaPorte / Posted on March 13th, 2018
For our next series, we visited Pompano Beach, Fla., where a retirement community known as John Knox Village is located–about 10 miles north of Fort Lauderdale. On the campus are 12 Green House homes, which are small, resident-centered homes designed intentionally to counter the institutional feel of traditional nursing homes. A key feature of a Green House home is that staff and residents are empowered to live and work together as a team. Helping to make this team operate smoothly are Sages, who hold an esteemed position within the home. For this series, we interviewed Sages, all of whom have a lifetime of experience from which to draw upon to assist elders and others within the home. We will let our first interviewee, Diane, explain the purpose of a Sage: “As part of structure of this place they look for volunteers to act as Sages, because we’re old and wise and we’ve had experience working with groups, mentoring people, and problem solving with people. There is a screening process and we were trained. There are homes in this building, and there is at least one Sage assigned to each home. We come in on a volunteer basis and our function is to council, mentor, encourage the shabazim, who are the trained CNAs, within the home, to help them create a self-managed work team. And we are also there to provide contact between the elders and the shabazim and to enable them to get to know each other better. We come in on a fairly regular basis to visit in the home, we attend team meetings, if we’re invited, and hopefully give them the support they need.” . . How often do you come to the home? “It varies. I try to come two or three times a week, and that’s hard because I’m involved in other things. But I try to make it two or three times a week. I’m a resident of John Knox Village, as all the Sages are. We are lucky that we have that volunteer base to work with because everyone is on the property.” . . . . . #changingaging #agewoke #disruptaging #agepositive #greenhousehomes #sages #wisewords @johnknoxvillage #florida #pompanobeach #johnknoxvillage #ageinamerica #oldandwise #olderandwiser
By Admin / Posted on May 22nd, 2017
THE GREEN HOUSE Homes at Saint Elizabeth Home in East Greenwich are open! These are the first new nursing homes to open in RI in over 25 years.
By Breanna Howell / Posted on April 5th, 2017
The Green House model has added passion and purpose to my family in many ways. My grandparents, David and Twylah Haun, are Independent Living residents at John Knox Village (JKV) and they were instrumental in bringing The Green House model to their community. We have had many great conversations about the model’s potential over the years, and it has become close to my heart as well. Currently, I am pursuing my doctorate in Occupational Therapy at the University of Southern California (USC). When a professor challenged us to seek out opportunities and learn what it means to be a leader in healthcare, I immediately thought of my grandparents. This led to an exciting externship at The Woodlands at JKV. Before I stepped foot on the grounds at JKV, I was already destined to have valuable experiences simply based on the leadership skills I could learn from my grandparents.
I can still remember back in 2011 when bringing The Green House model to JKV became the main topic of our Thanksgiving meal ; My grandmother was interested and my grandfather was doubtful. Never ones to be easily convinced or to skimp on their research, they decided to take a road trip to eight different Green House homes to see this model in action. After visiting four homes, Grandfather was sold on the idea and came home to put their research into action. In the years since this initial exploratory trip, my grandparents have stayed very involved in The Green House initiative at JKV and also at a national level. They have spoken at the national Green House Meeting, contributed to The Green House blog, and helped with every aspect of creating and opening The Woodlands at JKV (including selecting paintings for the walls and dishes for the dining rooms, pictured right). Grandma has continued her active role in The Green House homes by becoming a Sage, a volunteer role that allows her to mentor and support the self managed work team to become a cohesive team and help create a real home for and with the elders.
In my program, we were discussing different models of care, and my professor brought up The Green House Project. It was something USC knew little about, but were excited to see how it could change the future. I was thrilled to be able to share my grandparents’ experiences with my 150 classmates and professors. I couldn’t wait to see the model in action! The Woodlands at JKV represents the first Green House homes in Florida, and they also offer homes dedicated to short term rehabilitation. Providing meaningful therapy in a natural environment is the ideal for an occupational therapist, and an exciting reality in the Green House homes.
I spent my externship running from meeting to meeting, soaking up as many experiences as possible, and asking questions about everything. From the staff in the homes to the people working across the whole community, I was continually impressed by the way they put the needs of the elder first, and balanced that with the success of the organization.
Some of my most meaningful interactions occurred with the elders, sharing stories of joy, belonging, and feeling safe in The Green House homes. In the end, this is why we do what we do, and it filled my heart with pride to be able to see this vision that my grandparents helped to carry forward, being lived out in such a beautiful way.
My time at JKV was a wonderful learning experience, and one that I will never forget. The Green House model is truly making a difference in the lives of the elders and those who are passionate about working with them. As a leader and therapist, I know that one of the greatest gifts I can give a client is to remind them that they are a unique individual who matters. From talking to the elders and listening to their stories, watching the direct care staff prepare meals in their home, participating in leadership meetings, and delivering mail to the homes with my grandmother, every experience taught me something valuable, and I am incredibly grateful.
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on March 30th, 2017
Green House homes are dynamic and able to impact innovation in many different settings. The first Green House homes to be incorporated with a PACE community have opened as part of The Thome Rivertown Neighborhood in Detroit. It is an honor to be able to open the doors of accessibility for low income elders through this partnership.
PACE is the acronym of the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly. PACE programs are government-funded managed care health plans that also provide comprehensive health services for individuals age 55 and over who have health needs classified as “nursing home eligible” by their state’s Medicaid program. The goal is to keep chronically ill elders independent for as long as possible –preventing avoidable hospitalizations, emergency visits and stays in nursing homes.
Roger Myers is CEO of Presbyterian Villages of Michigan, and Mary Naber is President/CEO of PACE Southeast Michigan. They are the leaders behind this innovation, and hold the belief in this partnership to evolve the healthcare system. “This is the future. Health is about more than medical care. To meet the needs of elders, the focus must be holistic, accessible and home based,” Naber says.
The goal of PACE is to keep people as independent as possible and to avoid nursing home stays. Despite that, nationally 7% of PACE participants still end up spending some time in long term care, according to Naber, “less because of a need for skilled care, and more because they are not safe to stay in their homes.”
“As we know, even the best traditional nursing home does not provide the greatest living experience, and now, for at least 21 people, The Rivertown Neighborhood is able to offer an alternative. The Weinberg Green House homes meet their needs, support them to thrive and enable them to remain in the community,” says Naber. “It’s very gratifying to be able to offer this option. I wish I had 10 Green House homes for people!”
The Green House homes are licensed as Homes for the Aged, a distinction that provides flexibility and enables elders with a high level of need to live in the least restrictive environment possible. As it happens, many of the people living in these homes have moved there from nursing homes. The PACE program provides a “wrap-around” so that elders receive all the services they need, enabling The Green House home will be their home for life.
“The great thing about the co-location of the Weinberg Green House homes to the PACE center is that the elders receive all the same benefits as if they were living in their own homes, which they are- Green House homes. Being right on the PACE campus will keep elders more mobile and socially engaged. It will also help PACE clinicians stay in touch, and we know that frequent interactions can help prevent ER visits and other medical concerns.” explains Myers.
“Health is not just about medical care, especially when you’re dealing with chronic illness,” declares Naber. By leveraging an interdisciplinary team rather than the typical doctor-driven model, the team at the Weinberg Green Houses are able to care for the WHOLE person: body, mind and spirit.
PACE Southeast Michigan is a 501c3 not-for profit government funded unique health plan and comprehensive care provider. It is a jointly owned by Henry Ford Health System, one of the early PACE innovators, and Presbyterian Villages of Michigan.
The Thome Rivertown Neighborhood includes Independent Living, Assisted Living, the PACE Center and now The Green House homes. Not everyone who lives on the campus is a part of PACE, but it is built as a continuum to enable low income and highly frail people to stay in their community as their health status changes.
Integrating residential living with PACE is proving to be an effective development that will hopefully spread throughout the country. PVM led the development effort for this supportive neighborhood during the recession, and the idea was so compelling that they were able to achieve their goals. A $2 million grant from the Baltimore-based Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation provided much of the support to make their vision to add Green House homes to the community a reality.
By Frank Dornfest / Posted on March 29th, 2017
For the last few years, I have served as a Sage (volunteer who supports and advises the self managed work team) at The Green House homes of Mirasol. Recently, my role was reversed, when I moved in to recover after an extremely taxing and debilitating surgery. These homes are listed as 5 Star by Medicare and Medicaid, a wonderful professional endorsement. I can tell you, however, that the essence of what I experienced, goes far beyond that checklist, and their stellar outcomes reflect something much deeper and more comprehensive.
The Green House homes were the only attractive option for rehab within 20 minutes from my home. Because I know how popular The Green House homes are, I was worried that there would not be space for me. I was delighted to be able recover in a Real Home. I knew that being a volunteer would be very different from being a guest in the community, but I couldn’t have predicted how impressed I would be, or the gratitude I would feel.
The Green House team ensured that the process was smooth and dignified from the very beginning. They managed all the hospital paperwork, follow-up appointments and coordination, which in my mind already goes leagues above 5 stars! The driver’s vehicle enabled me to sit comfortably up front, and he even offered me clip-on sunglasses, my choice of music and a warm blanket (an important touch on a freezing Colorado day). We quickly fell into a comfortable chat and discovered many things that we had in common.
When I arrived, I was greeted warmly, like a long-lost, favorite uncle! The Shahbazim (direct care staff) offered me the choice of going to my room for a rest, or staying at the table for a meal. Having already having discovered my dietary preferences, they offered to make something special, just for me. The whole home smelled scrumptious when I came in the front door! Just being there made me feel better, and I had a renewed appreciation for the airiness of the dining area, the good smells of the kitchen, and the warm, inviting fireplace area.
We went to my room – private room with private bathroom, thank goodness. As I was oriented, I was reminded that no room is more than six doors from the hearth, and this was confirmed the next morning by the aroma of breakfast wafting into my bedroom. How refreshing to recover without the long and disorienting corridors lined with carts of stale food or unmentionables waiting to be taken out back. At no stage
was I “parked” anywhere in the house, as I have seen in other nursing homes, left alone to wait. To be treated like a person, rather than an object; what this did for my well-being, I can’t begin to measure.
Dinner was a very communal event, and I felt very welcomed by my fellow elders at the table. Some required help with eating, which the Shahbazim did casually and warmly with considerable skill and NO DEMEANING BIBS. It immediately felt like the elders were interested in me as a fellow member of the house and its extended family of elders, staff and family members. The feeling of family was beautifully illustrated, as one elder spontaneously went over to another elder, who seemed unhappy, and simply gave him a hug. It was then that I was brought to tears, so moved by the atmosphere of support and caring. The elders are empowered to care and support each other, creating a community of reciprocity, where everyone has something to offer.
The hearth in the center of the house is a place where elders and Shahbazim could naturally get to know each other more deeply, creating mutually supportive relationships as our stories are shared. What a realization to know that the more deeply we know each other, the more we are valued. These relationships enable the elders and Shahbazim to go beyond medical needs, and become connected, helping each other to live the best life possible.
The staff appeared to be encouraged to stop over each day and chat for a while just to get to know me better. I felt understood, and like the things that were important to me, were important to them. If I had a visitor (like my wife of 51 years) or was engaged elsewhere, my nurse would ask if I would prefer she come back later. She put me in the driver seat of my care, and made me feel like she honored my privacy and dignity. The Shahbazim seemed to anticipate my needs, incorporating what they learned about me from our conversations, and providing personalized care that went well beyond my physical needs. Team members would stop by at the end of their shift to just chat about their plans for the rest of the day, to ask advice, or to ask me about my life stories. This genuine caring, was something that I hadn’t experienced in other nursing home/rehab settings, and it was so gratifying and replenishing. To be known and truly valued, this is better than the best medicine.
What a phenomenal rehabilitation experience, delivered by wonderful people who love their
job, love the people they work with and the elders they serve. The Green House homes provide opportunities for these open-hearted people to grow and develop their already extraordinary gifts. I am honored to be able to share my experience as a testimonial to others who are seeking a place where they can recover, not only physically, but holistically. It is because of this experience that I healed so rapidly, with caring and the preservation of my dignity.
Learn more about The Green House homes at Mirasol>>
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on March 6th, 2017
Acting on a strong mission to serve elders in need, Ave Maria home, in Bartlett, TN is embarking on Phase II of their Green House journey. They are currently building five 12-bed Green House homes that will join four Green Houses built six years ago. The new homes have a special purpose, to serve as a safe haven for elders who have experienced abuse.
To support this worthy endeavor, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Inc. has awarded them a grant of $500,000. Ave Maria CEO, Frank Gattuso, states “It’s exciting to have a national foundation’s involvement in recognizing the importance of care for our elders. The Weinberg Foundation is committed to assisting elders through post-acute care and culture change in our community with these Green House homes.”
The Green House model has within it, the power to impact those who live and work there. The comprehensive transformation of environment, philosophy, and organizational redesign creates an interelated web that supports people to flourish. Ave Maria home is a leader in Tennessee elder care, and we are so proud to be a part of their innovative and compassionate work.
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Inc. are integral partners. Susan Ryan, Senior Director of The Green House Project shares, “Since 2013, the reach of The Green House Project has been expanded through the generous support of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. Their involvement enables the Green House® Project to make an even greater impact, bringing a highly and more personalized standard of care to elders in every community. These funds have furthered innovation in the field and are vital to extend truly excellent, affordable long term care to all people regardless of acuity level or ability to pay.”
Congratulations to Ave Maria Home, on this truly important work, and the national recognition and support
By Kris Angevine / Posted on February 25th, 2017
One of my proudest moments as a Guide for the Penfield Green House homes was when one of the Shahbazim (self-managed team of direct care staff), Wendy, texted me and said “Hurray! We made it!” … I didn’t know what she meant and I was at our legacy building about 20 minutes away so I couldn’t just pop over to clarify the news. The therapeutic recreation specialist for our Green House homes, Mimi, has an office across from me, so I moseyed over to her and asked her if she knew what Wendy could mean? Mimi said “Nope, I don’t know anything.” So, I texted Wendy back and asked her “Made it where? What are you all up to?” She replied, “Check Facebook!”
I didn’t have time to check the site, as I was rushing off to another meeting so it was an hour later before I was able to close the loop. As it turned out, all 10 elders, the Shahbazim and a Nurse were buying grape pies in Naples, NY which is about 2 hours away. The team planned the whole thing, scheduled the van, grabbed the credit card, and even got the other House to come over and check on Lexi, the house dog, because this was her first time on her own. On their way home, they stopped for lunch, and enjoyed the iconic fall scenery in upstate NY. It was beautiful, well executed, and neither the “boss” or “activities” knew anything about it.
True empowerment at its best!
By Jemi Mansfield / Posted on September 21st, 2016
Jemi Mansfield is the Guide for The Green House homes at Cedar Sinai Park, and the Director of Spiritual Life for the organization. Cedar Sinai Park opened their first Green House home in July 2016, and the self managed work team created a beautiful welcoming ritual to make sure that the elders felt special and loved as they moved into their new home. The below story is an account of what can happen when a team is empowered to make decisions that bring value to their role, their home and those whose lives they touch.
Right from the start, the self managed work team (called shahbazim) in our Green House home knew they wanted to have a small gift waiting in the bedrooms as the elders moved in – something special and personalized to really make it feel like home. Jane, a shahbaz, recalled that when she and her husband went away for their 40th anniversary the hotel surprised them not only with champagne and
chocolates in their room but also a banner hanging in the lobby. “It was unexpected and so touching,” she said. That and similar experiences shared by others laid the foundation for a gift bag filled with goodies awaiting residents. A list of personal care items was compiled: shampoo, lotion, toothbrush and paste, shaving gear for the gents, etc. – and the Shahbazim took off on an impromptu shopping trip to Dollar Tree, which was a highlight for Carol during the practicum weeks. “I liked that we worked together to plan the list and then shop,” she said. “Nothing went into the basket that we didn’t all agree upon – a real team effort.” They also bought welcome cards, which were personalized for each resident and signed by the entire team. On July 25th, move-in day, each gift bag was festooned with a cheery balloon and placed in a prominent spot alongside an African Violet plant for each resident: a reminder of the roots of the Eden Alternative to bring living things into each home.
Everyone knew that the goodie bags were going to be a hit, but the star of the welcome gifts is really the blanket. Jane had hit upon the idea during a brainstorming session – that each resident should be given something uniquely theirs to keep and enjoy in the house. She suggested a crocheted lap blanket, made by volunteers. The group jumped on the notion immediately but acknowledged that, at less than two weeks to opening, they faced a lack of time to pull together a project of this size. Nicole, a member of the self managed team, mentioned that her son, who has autism and touch sensitivity, has a favorite type of blanket that she buys at Costco. “It’s beyond soft,” she explained. “It offers him comfort and warmth, and that’s what we want our residents to experience.” She brought in a sample the next day, and the group of Shahbazim were sold: it truly was the softest blanket in the world.
The finishing touch was to personalize the gift. Each resident’s blanket was embroidered with his or her first name and the date of move in: July 25, 2016. The blankets were presented to the elders by the Shahbazim at the first dinner, as they enjoyed “convivium” (good food with good company) around the big table where meals are served together. Tony, a shahbaz, created a lively atmosphere as he led all in a boisterous round of the “Name Game”, welcoming each elder to their new home.
As new residents eventually move in, they will receive their own blanket, emblazoned with their name and move-in date to denote their place in the household. As Alisa, another shahbaz, pointed out, “This is a fresh start for our residents. A new setting, a new chapter, a new home. It’s right that they should start this chapter with something new and truly theirs.”
In the days that followed, we received a sweet note from Maureen, whose sister is among the first residents (the Alpha House Twelve, we lovingly call them). The note reads, “To all you dear people who gave Pam such a wonderful welcome to her new home. Last Monday, July 25, was a red letter day which we will always remember when we look at her beautiful new blanket and all the lovely bag of presents, card, balloon and flowers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do for Pam. You are truly wonderful!”
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on August 9th, 2016
Over 200 Green House Homes Now Open in 30 States
BALTIMORE, MD (August 9, 2016)– THE GREEN HOUSE® PROJECT has spent over a decade creating a new vision for the future of elder care. In June, the organization reported an important milestone: more than 200 Green House homes are being operated by leading organizations in 30 states.
Upon reaching this new milestone, Green House Senior Director, Susan Ryan says, “It is beyond exciting to see this initiative gaining momentum. It took us 10 years to reach the first 100 homes, and only five years to add the next 100. As our numbers continue to grow, it means that more people are able to live full and meaningful lives. Both the elders who live in Green House homes and those who work there, benefit from the elements of the model that returns value and autonomy to those who it matters to most.“
John Knox Village, a lifecare community in Pompano Beach, Fl represents the 200th Green House home to open. In May 2016, they opened 12 Green House homes. Says CEO, Gerry Stryker, of the momentous occasion, “Being the 200th Green House home is incredibly emotional and fulfilling for John Knox Village. We recognize that we are a part of a rapidly growing national movement to change the face of care and rehabilitation. Our elders deserve this.”
Cedar Sinai Park, in Portland, OR, opened the first of four Green House homes in July, representing the thirtieth state to include this lifestyle model. Sandra Simon, CEO said, “This is the future of aging services, and we are proud to create the first Green House home in Oregon.”
Research finds that comprehensive adoption of the model has the potential to impact re-hospitalization rates, end of life care, and the quality of decisions made in the homes. A strong evidence base makes this model an appealing option to consumers, policymakers and long-term care providers and increases potential for scaling.
The Green House concept has already spread nationwide, with Green House projects operating or in development in 34 states. The organization’s goal is to increase the pace of growth, and have at least 300 homes open by 2020.
About The Green House Project
Based in Baltimore, MD, The Green House Project promotes an alternative to the traditional institutional skilled nursing, replacing it with an innovative new model of care that balances quality of life with quality of care. In the Green House model, large nursing facilities are replaced with small, self-contained homes that include private bedrooms and baths, home-cooked meals and access to the outdoors, while meeting all skilled nursing regulatory and reimbursement criteria. Incorporating the core values of meaningful life, real home and empowered staff, the Green House model creates a higher quality of life, improved medical outcomes, and greater caregiver satisfaction. There are currently more than 200 Green House homes in 30 states. The Green House Project is an initiative within the newly formed Center for Innovation. Visit our website at www.thegreenhouseproject.org.