Green House Blog

The Green House Business Case Toolkit

For the past several years, the provider community has been asking The Green House Project for more information about the financial performance of the model. The Green House Project has recently created a business case model that is compelling and which answers many outstanding questions. In addition, it also includes recent Consumer Research that helps explain the high value that consumers place on core features of the Green House model. In today’s long term care market, success for nursing home operators depends on having an efficient model that gives consumers what they want in a way that stands out against the other options available.

The Green House model does exactly that. The model’s dramatic reinvention of long-term care has proven to be immediately recognizable and preferred by residents and their families. The Green House model radically transforms the environment, organization and philosophy of long-term care to create a model that looks and feels like a real home. Over the last decade, Green House homes have set a new standard for quality care with a model that is both proven and practical. Today, there are hundreds of Green House homes open or in development in the majority of states.

The Business Case Toolkit includes a high level brochure, a full business case report and a 12 minute video, designed to answer your questions about the financial viability of The Green House model. The Green House model makes sense not only from a quality of life perspective, but also from a business perspective. Operating a Green House home can increase the occupancy and revenue while keeping the costs the same, compared to the traditional nursing home. And more importantly, the strong financial benefits of The Green House model can enhance your organization’s ability to meet its quality and service mission.

To download the Business Case Toolkit, click here. If you have additional thoughts or questions, please call Maura Porcelli at 703-637-2311.

Green House homes are Coming to California

Joanne Handy, CEO of LeadingAge California provided the introduction in her publlication, Agenda, to  the feature article on The Green House Project, “The Green House model was born from necessity – from a realization that there had to be an alternative to caring for older adults. But without the persistence of a relatively small group of people, this new and innovative model may never have seen the light of day. And just as Mt. San Antonio Gardens is helping to lead change with its Green House, [Leading Age California] is helping to lead change by stimulating and fostering innovation.” The Green House Project is grateful to the leadership and partnership of many groups in California, together we are creating real homes for elders in this state.

In California, “the state’s population continues to age rapidly. The number of Californians over 65 is expected to
double – if not triple, by 2030, and seven in 10 of those seniors will need long-term care at some point.”  There is a call for innovation in long term care, a need for a model that will care for people as individuals, putting their person-hood at the same level as their medical needs.

After many years of striving to partner with regulators in the state, “two new homes will open at the Mt. San Antonio Gardens senior community in Pomona, Calif. They’ll fit right in among the apartments and cottages – with their patios and gardens – that already populate the 30-acre campus, beside its putting green, arts center and more. But these homes will be different. In fact, they’ll usher in the beginning of a new era of a nursing-home care in California.”

The gains made by Mt. San Antonio Gardens will be further solidified through legislation, “Late last year, Governor Brown signed into law Senate Bill 1228, introduced by State Senator Elaine Alquist (D-Santa Clara)… The bill will facilitate the development and delivery of “skilled nursing care in a homelike, noninstitutional setting” like never before, by creating The Small House Skilled Nursing Facilities Pilot Program.” Housed in the Department of Health, this bill calls for 10 organizations to participate in this pilot program which will demonstrate the positive outcomes that come from creating real home, meaningful life and good jobs in the long term care field.

The Green House Project urges every eligible provider to consider applying for this unprecedented opportunity to bring small home, person-centered care to market with the urgency that consumers are demanding and the efficiency for which providers are striving. To read the full article in the Leading Age California publication, click here.


Meaningful Life: Celebrating 10 years, Exploring Core Values

In The Green House Project, we value stories. We honor the stories of the Shahbazim, and the elders and their families. In the Green House, stories are the foundation of relationships and the key to discovering a meaningful life. Dr. Bill Thomas reflects on what it means to create a Meaningful life, and how this value is foundational to The Green House model.

Thanks to Kavan at ChangingMedia for producing!


Fast Company, The Green House Project Brings Back Dignity to Aging

Fast Company, is a magazine focused on highlighting the most creative individuals sparking change in the marketplace. By uncovering best and “next” practices, the magazine helps a new breed of leader to work smarter and more effectively. Recently, they  published a piece about The Green House Project.  The article interviews, Jane Lowe, the senior advisor for this program with The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and she gives her ultimate endorsement, “”If I am frail and old and need nursing home care, I would be quite comfortable going to a Green House home. I would definitely not say that about going to traditional nursing home.”

The article, complete with beautiful photos of Green House homes, and a short video, highlights the fact that this model is creating real home, whether that is in a rural setting, an urban high rise, or the Veteran’s administration.  By putting the elder at the center of the organizational chart, it is clear that the goal is to deeply know the elder, and to help them live their best life, “Nursing homes are hierarchical, and patient’s needs are at the bottom of the chain. Bill [Thomas] had an idea that you could create these homes that could provide complete care for the elders in a more high-quality way and a way that really supported their lives,” explains Dr. Jane Isaacs Lowe, a senior adviser for program development at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “We were all intrigued, because if you could build these Green House homes so they could be embedded in communities then this would make nursing homes more of a home and community-based service, because in theory someone could move from home to Green House home and still be in that community.”

As The Green House Project celebrates 10 years since the first Green House home opened in Tupelo, MS, the initive looks to the future, and how this model will create a viable and sustainable option for long term care.  Explore for more information about The Business Case of The Green House model, and to find a Green House project near you! 



VA Partners with the Green House Project to Provide Care for Milwaukee Veterans

Milwaukee, WI, will soon join two other VA sites in providing Green House homes for veterans. With one Green House home currently in construction, and plans for three more, the Milwaukee VA is adopting an evidence-based model of long-term care for elders.

The Milwaukee VA Center recently wrote about the construction of the Green House homes and what it means for their veterans. From the article:

“This takes the institutional setting out of nursing home care, which is something we have been moving toward since 2006,” said Mary Pfeiffer, who also serves as co- divisional manager in RECC, but has a nursing background.

“Our current Community Living Center and the Green Houses will operate at the same time, and both serve a specific need. Because the Green Houses are cozier with private rooms, front porches and sun rooms, it will be much easier for people to adapt to that environment. They’ll offer more quiet and individualized care, which is ideal for those patients who have dementia or those who fare better in a quieter environment.”

Certified Green House homes accommodate up to 12 residents and have a “real home” look and feel. They also have highly-trained staff that provide individualized care for elders. Research shows that elders receive 4 times more meaningful interaction with staff members than in a traditional nursing home, and this results in people being happier and healthier.  It is the deep-knowing relationships that create an environment where people’s natural rhythms and preferences are honored and respected.

Why I Love My Job…

Shahbaz Sarah Hoffman from The Green House homes at Lebanon Valley Brethren Home shares why she truly loves her position: 

Every Thursday in the Legacy building of our facility, they have bible study. As the elders are filing into the area, we have a pianist playing prelude, often one of our independent living volunteers. For various reasons our regular pianists could not make it yesterday, so activities’ staff asked one of our green house elders if she’d be interested. She agreed, but as it came time to head down, she expressed some reservation about not knowing what to play. I reassured her to just play from her heart.  I assisted her to the piano, adjusting the bench to her liking. For nearly half an hour, without any sheet music she began playing. And then started singing. I watched from the sidelines as her entire face lit up…she was beaming, proudly playing hymns she’d grown up with. The room began singing along with her…it was truly a beautiful moment. A couple of hymns were requested from the audience that she didn’t remember right away. I sang the first line and she picked it up and ran with it!
Sure, there may have been a few missed notes along the way and she may have played a couple hymns twice or thrown in a non hymn here and there…but in that moment, at that piano, she was THRIVING.

And my heart was smiling.

Please share your comments!

Capitol Hill Policy Briefing Highlights, The Green House Project

On February 8, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation held a policy briefing on Capitol Hill entitled, “Redesigning the Nursing Home: How The Green House® Project is improving the Way We Care for Older Americans”

Held in one of the beautiful rooms of the Capitol Visitors Center Room, more than 100 representatives from Congressional offices, Congressional Committee staff, Federal , State and Municipal Government Agencies, as well as National and State Aging Organizations attended the briefing.

The intent of the policy briefing was to raise awareness of The Green House Project as a solution for transforming Nursing Home Care and meeting the needs of the impending “age wave” facing our nation.

Moderated by Dr. Jane Isaacs Lowe, senior advisor for program development, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the briefing began with and brief introduction and presentation of a video to create a virtual experience of The Green House model.

Distinguished speakers included Robert Jenkens, MSRED, Managing Director, Aging and Independence, NCB Capital Impact; Dr. David Grabowski, professor of health care policy, Harvard Medical School (via video conferencing); Dr. Alice Bonner, RN, FAANP, director, Division of Nursing Homes in the Center for Medicaid, CHIP and Survey & Certification, Department of Health and Human Services and Pamela Sanberg, RN, NEA-BC, MS, NHA, Green House home guide, Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center , North Chicago, IL.

Speakers highlighted the various aspects of the program, such as the research to support the clinical and financial viability of this model. Pamela Sanberg spoke on behalf of the Veteran’s Association saying, “The small house model, exemplified by The Green House model is well suited to serve our wounded warriors.” The mission of The Green House Project is to make this model an option for elders in every community. Currently in 32 states, The Green House Project feels confident that there are no regulatory barriers to inhibit the this model from developing across the country.

We are hopeful that all attendees especially congressional staff and federal, state and municipal staff came away with valuable information and will continue to look to The Green House® Project as an innovative model for the future of long term care.

Leading Age to Host a Luncheon and Briefing of The Green House Project

On February 20, 2013 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., Leading Age President and CEO, Larry Minnix and CEO of Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, Ron Yoder, will host a luncheon and briefing on The Green House Project at the national Leading Age office in Washington, DC. Many Leading Age members have adopted this innovative, small house model of long-term care around the country. With 146 homes open and over a hundred more in development, The Green House program is a credible model for deep, sustainable and viable culture change.

Robert Jenkens, Managing Director for Aging and Independence at NCB Capital Impact, which administers The Green House Project, will discuss the new business case materials and Consumer Research about the program. It is compelling and it answers many of the questions about The Green House model that providers have been asking over the past several years. Additionally, Leading Age Member, Ron Yoder, will share his experience of partnering with The Green House Project to implement the first Green House project in Virginia, at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community. Whether or not a Green House project is in your immediate plans, you will not want to miss this opportunity to learn why the financial and market performance is making The Green House Project a leader in skilled nursing care.

Please RSVP to Alayna Waldrum,, by Friday, Feb 15, 2013 if you plan to attend. This event is free to your organization so please bring your questions and join us for a delicious lunch and strategic session. The event will be held at the Leading Age office located at 2519 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008-1520. To learn more about The Green House Project prior to the event, you can visit the website at

We hope you can join us and we look forward to seeing you at the luncheon.

Redesigning the Nursing Home: How The Green House® Project is Improving the Way We Care for Older Americans

Capitol Hill Briefing

Friday, February 8, 2013
Follow live tweets: Greenhouse_Proj

At this briefing, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) will share a pilot study showing Green House homes save Medicare and Medicaid dollars, as well as new consumer research showing that the Green House model is strongly preferred by family caregivers.

As Americans age, they worry about finding a place to live happily and comfortably, that provides the care and services they need. Many nursing facilities can feel like hospitals instead of homes, but since 2002, the RWJF-funded Green House Project has pioneered a radically different approach to long-term care. Today, 264 homes are open or under development in 32 states. These Green House homes have been designed from the ground up to look and feel in every way like real homes. Research shows that elders are healthier and happier in Green House homes, which cost no more to operate than traditional nursing homes.

Speakers will include:

  • Jane Isaacs Lowe, PhD, senior advisor for program development, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Moderator)
  • Robert Jenkens, MSRED, managing director, Aging and Independence, NCB Capital Impact
  • David Grabowski, PhD, professor of health care policy, Harvard Medical School
  • Alice Bonner, PhD, RN, FAANP, director, Division of Nursing Homes in the Center for Medicaid, CHIP and Survey & Certification, Department of Health and Human Services (invited)
  • Pamela Sanberg, RN, NEA-BC, MS, NHA, Green House home guide, Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center (invited

Relational Coordination-A Practice with Big Benefits

Via Provider Magazine

As we all know advances in medical equipment and technology play an important role in the care we provide Elders, but leaders must remember that staff and their relationships have the greatest influence on performance.   In the latest edition of Provider Magazine, relational coordination is explored as a critical element for high-performing nursing homes.  David Farrell, the new Director of THE GREEN HOUSE® Project, is one of three authors for the article.

Deep, knowing relationships are the foundation for Green House homes and support the core value of Meaningful Life.

Read more about the evidence that supports relational coordination and tell us what you think!

The Green House Website, Redesigned to be User-Friendly and Interactive

The cornerstone of The Green House Project is relationships.  We want that message to resonate through everything that we do, including our website.  In redesigning our website, we started with the questions: “What is the purpose of our website?” and ” Who does our website serve?”  From this starting point we were able to work through an integrated and collaborative process that ultimately created a usable, interactive and streamlined experience for you. Some of the new features include:

The Green House Model
The Green House Model proposes a radical transformation of long term care with a focus on our core values: meaningful life, empowered staff and real home. Interested in finding a home? Use our interactive map to find the one closest to you.

Work With Us
What is the value of working with The Green House Project?  Explore the comprehensive technical assistance, which is led by an expert project guide.  We provide support in areas such as finance, regulations and design to facilitate successful implementation and sustainability of the model. Through innovative education programs and coaching, staff will develop the skills they need to achieve The Green House model values and demonstrated outcomes.  Navigate our interactive brochure (also an App for iPad: GHP), and learn how to take the next step to make this model a reality in your community. 

The goal of this website is to establish and differentiate the value of The Green House Project by providing relevant and easy to find information for everyone who wants to explore this revolutionary model of long term care.  Please take time to look around, and come back often as there will always be something new and exciting happening with The Green House Proiect!