Green House Blog

The Green House Pioneers of Alaska

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Seward Mountain Haven

As the only Green House homes in Alaska, we love sharing our story, and our passion for The Green House model’s Core Values of Real Home, Meaningful Life and Empowered Staff. When visitors come to Seward Mountain Haven they are struck not only by the beautiful view, but also by the feeling they have when they step inside our homes. The feeling is immediate and visceral. It’s family. Many people still expect to see the traditional institution and it gives me so much pleasure to be a part of changing that expectation.

I can’t tell you how many times visitors have joked with me, saying, “Sign me up! This is where I want to be!” They are joking but in reality they are saying, “Yes! This is what Long Term Care should be!”

Brittany and her colleagues from Seward Mt. Haven smile with Dr. Bill Thomas at the Green House Annual Meeting

It is easy to focus on the day to day challenges, and sometimes we have to remind each other, our team, to step back and notice the incredible work that we are doing. If we just let that sink in for a few minutes…it is SO powerful.

We are proud to be a pioneer in The Green House movement. The peer network that we are building nationally, enables us to share our successes and lessons learned with developing Green House homes and to gain insights from Green House organizations around the country. There is power in knowing that we are a part of something that is bigger than ourselves, and that we share this calling to better the lives elders every day.

I joined The Green House team at Providence Seward Mountain Haven January 2011 as a social worker. During my education, I never saw myself going into eldercare, and my road to The Green HouDSCN2761se homes was happenstance. I joined the team because I wanted to be a part of something innovative; I wanted to be a part of a group that was making a difference. I never would have imagined how much my decision to work in a Green House home would affect me. I am pushed to grow, learn and continually challenge my thinking… this opportunity is much more than just a job.

One of my most memorable experiences in The Green House homes was when I was pregnant with my son. Because we have such close relationships with the elders, they naturally wanted to stay informed of all the details, and to also share their pregnancy and birth experiences with me. As it got closer to my delivery date their excitement and anticipation grew, and when he finally came, we all celebrated the arrival of THEIR baby! This experience really drove home the fact that we really care about each other here. The elders are just as invested in us as we are in them and that is a feeling you only get in a Green House home. It’s very special.

The Green House Project joins a Panel of Innovators on Huff Post Live

Present Perfect, a documentary about the magic that can happen when a preschool is located within a nursing home, was the catalyst for a panel of innovators today on HuffPost Live’s #WhatsWorking series.  Susan Prov Mt St VinFrazier, Senior Director of The Green House Project, highlighted the power of creating real home and meaningful lives for elders through a normalized and integrated environment, “It is time to reframe the purposefulness of Elderhood, and as a society to recognize the beauty of each unique person.”

huffpost-liveShe was joined by Providence Mount St Vincent, Administrator, Charlene Boyd,  Art Therapist, Erin Partridge, and Present Perfect filmmaker, Evan Briggs.

To view the 30 minute discussion, CLICK HERE>>

A Son Expresses The Need for Green House homes in Every Community

A son’s personal experience shapes his support for bringing The Green House model to Maplewood Nursing home, in Cheshire County, NH.

As someone whose father greatly benefited from living in a Green House cottage, I feel compelled to lend my voice in support of the concept as the proposed alternative to the deteriorating Maplewood nursing facility which now serves many needy elders of Cheshire County.

Paul JenkinsMy father was a well-educated, highly respected writer and clergyman who, in his final years of life, had the misfortune to develop Lewy Body Dementia, a disease that resembles a devastating combination of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. It was one of the most difficult experiences of my life to watch this highly articulate man robbed of his joy, his speech, and, eventually, his mind.

When it became evident to our family that my mother could no longer care for my father in their home, we were blessed with the opportunity to be part of a Green House community in Holland, Michigan. The Green House concept is light years ahead of the type of care that has typically been given in places such as Maplewood Center. Maplewood has been a valued and effective facility for many years, but it simply cannot compare to a Green House setting. Green House residents live in private rooms with private baths. They are always treated with respect and dignity. They are referred to as “elders” rather than “patients.” Living, recreating and dining among a small community affords them with companionship that is so vital to their continued health. Family members are always welcomed at meals and other activities.

Before my father entered the Boersma Cottage, he was sinking deeper and deeper into depression, withdrawing from life, and was rapidly losing his desire to live. What struck me as miraculous is that, within a few weeks of his arrival, he started to regain his sense of humor and even had a playful quality about him that had been lacking in recent months. It is true that, because of his dementia, he was no longer fully the man I had known and loved. But the person that he became in his final months was well cared for and enjoyed a quality of life that, in my experience of such care – which is quite extensive – is unparalleled. My only regret is that he didn’t come to a Green House home earlier so that he might have enjoyed even more of its benefits. In the end, his death was a good one and for that I will always be grateful.

The Green House concept is, I believe, at this time the best way to provide quality of life for those in need of long-term care. It respects the dignity of the person and values the gifts that they still bring to the lives of others.

It’s time for Cheshire County to embrace this truly remarkable approach.

The Rev. Mark A. Jenkins

Rector, St. James Episcopal Church, Keene

Minnesota Welcomes its First Green House Skilled Nursing Homes!

Atrium crowdEpiscopal Homes of Minnesota celebrated the official grand opening of their six new Green House homes on May 20th.  The special event was well attended by Elders, families, staff members and community leaders in the St. Paul area.  Episcopal Homes’ President and

CEO Marvin Plakut
CEO Marvin Plakut

CEO, Marvin Plakut, welcomed attendees and

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman was on hand to congratulate all who helped in the development of the project.

The six skilled nursing Green House homes are called “The Gardens” and will be home for 60 Elders.  Each Elder will have their own private bedroom and bath, meals will be cooked in the home and the hearth area will provide a sanctuary for rich conversation in the house.

The Green House Homes "The Gardens"
The Green House Homes “The Gardens”

The Green House homes were part of a $45 million dollar expansion called Midway Village.  The campus now offers a range of Elder living options and affordability and is conveniently located near the city of St. Paul’s new Green Line light rail station.  “The outpouring of support for our project is both gratifying and humbling,” said Plakut.  “It is inspiring us to keep reaching higher on behalf of the individuals and families we serve.  It is also inspiring to see so many wonderful people interested in living at Midway Village.”

The 225,000-square-foot expansion on their campus is also receiving some special recognition…it has been selected as one of the state’s top projects in 2014 by Finance & Commerce.

The grand opening aroused the curiosity of neighborhood patrol officers.  Cornelia House Elder, Irma Wyman, helped make them feel welcome.
The grand opening aroused the curiosity of St. Paul neighborhood patrol officers. Cornelia House Elder, Irma Wyman, helped make them feel welcome.

We welcome the Elders, families and staff from The Gardens to the Green House family.   Congratulations and our very best wishes as you move forward in your Green House journey!

“Homes on The Range”, Inspiring Documentary of Green House homes in Sheridan, WY

Homes on the Range, a documentary from producer and director, Dale Bell, captures the amazing 10-year journey, of the citizens of Sheridan, Wyoming, who built the first grassroots Green House homes in the country.  This film chronicles their struggles, successes and ultimately the triumphant opening of their Green House homes, which change the way elders live in their community.

There are many ways to view this documentary. The film will be shown on PBS stations around the country, and DVDs are available for purchase.  Broadcasts will begin in May, which is Older American’s month.  All information about Homes on The Range can be found at: http://mediapolicycenter.org/

 

To see a full list of current airdates and times>>

Homes on the Range “The New Pioneers” TEASE from Media Policy Center on Vimeo.

Innovation is thriving in Upstate New York

Rob Simonetti has worked with multiple Green House organizations to create real homes where where elders live meaningful lives.  In this article, he highlights the innovation found in upstate NY, and The Green House model as a catalyst for significant social change.  

robSenior Housing providers are leaving industry standards behind to forge a culture of person centered care unseen in other areas of the US.
by Robert Simonetti, AIA, Design Director at SWBR Architects, 585-232-8300, rsimonetti@swbr.com

Call it a hot bed of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit; Upstate New York senior care providers are establishing new standards and models of care well ahead of many other communities. Care providers are ensuring all New Yorkers a very bright future as the industry comes to terms with an antiquated system of institutional care.

Senior care providers from Albany to Buffalo are breaking new ground and setting standards for the remainder of the nation to follow. As early as 1999 Fairport Baptist Home was one of the first adopters of the household model of skilled nursing care and quickly became a precedent and resource for other nursing homes seeking to transform their environments for care. The Eddy Village Green at Cohoes was the first adopter in New York of the Green House model. With sixteen homes of 12 elders each The Eddy has become a training center for other Green House adopters nationally.

In 2007 St. John’s Home embarked on a project to bring The Green House model of care to twenty of their Skilled Nursing elders. When St. John’s approached the NYS Department of Health, the state challenged St. John’s to not just build Green House homes, but to build them away from their existing campus in the City of Rochester. St. John’s accepted the challenge and in February of 2012 opened two Green House homes in Penfield, the first in the nation to build off campus in a new residential town home community. The homes which blend right in with their st. johns exteriorsurroundings have become some of the favorites of The Green House Project Senior Director Susan Frazier. “The difference between these homes and other Green House homes is palpable.” says Frazier. Operated on the concepts of person centered care and an empowered work force, the homes have achieved a 5 Star rating, the highest possible in the industry.

The private sector providers are not the only ones being innovative in Upstate; the Department of Veterans Affairs has adopted a new model for the veterans they serve. In Canandaigua plans are complete for ten skilled cottages based on the VA’s new Community Living Center principles. Since construction in the 1930’s veterans residing on campus have lived in very institutional H shaped buildings with double loaded corridors, small double, triple and quad occupancy rooms. The cottages are planned entirely as fully accessible one story homes with single occupancy rooms, private baths, safe outdoor courtyards, strong connections to the outdoors, and beautiful dining, kitchen, and living rooms. While being review in Washington, VAMC Central Office Architect Dan Colagrande noted that this new campus design “should become a national standard for our other VA campuses”.

With such excellence being set as a standard, other upstate providers are following suite to provide elders the best possible environments of care. In Scotia, Baptist Health has sixteen new small homes under construction. In Cicero, Loretto has just opened twelve new homes offering skilled nursing care. These homes and the neighborhood are modeled completely after a true residential neighborhood. The Rochester Presbyterian Home is starting construction on four new Memory Care Assisted Living Small homes in Perinton to compliment four they are operating in Chili. And in Brighton, the Jewish Home is embarking on an ambitious plan to build fourteen certified Green House homes to replace their aging legacy high-rise skilled nursing building.

Why Upstate New York? What’s behind our providers leading the industry? Upstate NY has historically been a leader in the Culture Change movement. Rochester is where the Pioneer Network was founded. A small group of prominent professionals in long-term care formed Pioneer Network in 1997 to advocate for person-directed care. The Network has grown significantly and is now a national resource headquartered in Chicago.

While working in an Upstate nursing home Dr. Bill Thomas founded The Eden Alternative; an international, non-profit organization dedicated to creating quality of life for Elders and their care partners. Recognizing three plights of the elderly in institutional nursing homes, Boredom, Loneliness, and Helplessness, Thomas sought to improve the well- being of Elders and their care partners by transforming the communities in which they live and work. Thomas, residing in Ithaca, has become an internationally recognized leader in the culture change movement and The Eden Alternative is headquartered in Rochester.

The legacy of innovation and advancement in the areas of senior care is growing in Upstate New York. Our providers, physicians, and educators are leaders and valuable resources to this rapidly changing industry. The St. John’s Green House homes have hosted visitors from around the country and as far as Iceland and New Zealand. The staff and administrator of the homes have become ambassadors of the culture change movement, encouraging, motivating, and educating others on the benefits of committing deeply to the ideals of person centered care and the Green House model.

The environments being developed here in Upstate are exemplary and promise each of us a bright future as we consider care options for our grandparents, our parents, and ourselves. Rest assured New Yorkers, when you decide to seek care, you will not find yesterday’s nursing home, rather you will find a true home filled with opportunities, committed staff, and an enlightened value of elderhood.

BUCKNER RETIREMENT LIVING EXPANDS GREEN HOUSE HOMES ACROSS TEXAS

 

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Experiencing success, Buckner brings The Green House model to new communities  

Dallas, Tx — June 4, 2015 – Buckner Retirement Living, a non-profit organization located in Texas, has a long history of working with The Green House Project, a not-for-profit that is part of Capital Impact’s Community Solutions Group, and is now entering into a new contract to build new  Green House homes in Texas.

Buckner is partnering with The Green House Project to add Green House homes to their new Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in Dallas, to help reposition their community in San Angelo and to expand their Beaumont CCRC to serve more elders with skilled care needs.

“We believe The Green House model is the best way to serve elders who need 24-hour nursing.” says Pat Crump, Vice President of Operations of Buckner Retirement Living “Our current Green House homes have been hugely successful, as evidenced by high family and resident satisfaction surveys, great clinical outcomes and extremely low staff turnover.”

The Green House model creates real homes for 10 to 12 elders, complete with private rooms and baths, home-cooked meals, and access to the outdoors.  And by providing elders with dignity, autonomy and choice, Green House homes provide people with the best quality of life possible.  The Green House model delivers better outcomes than traditional nursing homes, with potential to reduce hospitalizations and the cost of care.

For Crump, his past success was key in his decision to expand this model throughout his company, “We have benefitted from having  a proven model and the great support from The Green House team.   We strongly believe that providing elders a home as opposed to “warehousing” them in a nursing home is the right thing to do, and our customers agree.  The higher census we experience with this model equates to solid financial performance.”

Buckner Retirement Living is part of a larger effort nationwide to dramatically improve the way aging Americans receive long-term care. With the number of 85-year-olds in the U.S. increasing by 50 percent by 2030, a new approach for long-term care has never been more important.

“The financial and clinical success that Buckner Retirement has experienced provides strong validation for The Green House model,” said Scott Brown, Director of Outreach for The Green House Project.  “The lower turnover, higher census, and positive clinical outcomes meet the growing demand to provide high quality care at a lower cost.”

“We commend Buckner Retirement Living for their vision, as pioneers of The Green House movement, and their commitment to never build another traditional nursing home,” Mr. Brown continues,   “We are honored to partner with Pat and his team to transform long term care in Texas.”

 

About The Green House Project: The Green House Project is a radically new, national model for skilled-nursing care that returns control, dignity and a sense of well-being to elders, their families and direct care staff. In the Green House model, residents receive care in small, self-contained homes organized to deliver individualized care, meaningful relationships and better direct care jobs through a self-managed team of direct care staff working in cross-trained roles. Green House homes meet all state and federal regulatory and reimbursement criteria for skilled-nursing facilities. http://thegreenhouseproject.org/

 

About Buckner Retirement Living: Since 1879, Buckner has served people in need across Texas.  Expanding to 8 communities, Buckner one of the largest not-for-profit senior living organizations in Texas dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for senior adults and their families by promoting an active, healthy Christian lifestyle while maintaining their independence and dignity.  Over the years, Buckner has continued to refine, renovate and update their settings, programs and services to meet the needs of each new generation of residents. But one thing hasn’t changed: their faith-filled commitment to providing them with a rewarding way to live and the highest quality of living.

 

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Refreshed Green House Website Drives Demand

websiteThe Green House website is an important channel to inspire people about the potential of this model, and move them to action.  Our goal is to make The Green House model a reality in every community.   With over 5,000 visits per month, the website is a premier channel for healthcare providers, advocates, elders and family members, policy makers and other stakeholders to learn more about the value and differentiation of The Green House model.

This year, we refreshed the look and feel of the website in order to make it more accessible and communicate a stronger message about how we work with organizations to impact quality of life, quality of care and all at the same cost as the traditional model. The goals of this website refresh are to:
Emphasize the value of The Green House brand by honoring the “heart” of our mission, with a compelling business case that speaks to the “head.”
Optimize the experience on computer and mobile device by persona for health care providers, consumers, and strategic influencers (architects, media, advocates, etc.) with an ‘answer driven’ approach to maximize usability, and navigability.
Highlight the uniqueness of The Green House model, by leveraging testimonials from leaders in the field, case studies from current Green House adopters and data-driven studies that prove the business benefit of the model.

Through a crisp clear design and navigation, this website is optimized for the small screen, so that people can view our website on any device. The site is organized by persona and topic so that all stakeholders can find what they are looking for with less clicks. This site will increase awareness of The Green House model, and drive demand to make it an option in every community. Most importantly, it will create an extraordinary web experience. Visit us today at www.thegreenhouseproject.org, and start exploring the possibilities.