Green House Blog

Green House Founder Honored as Top Influencer in Aging

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The Green House Project’s founder and Director of Innovation, Dr. Bill Thomas, has been honored as one of the 50 remarkable people on Next Avenue’s first annual “Influencers in Aging” list.

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Green House founder, Dr. Bill Thomas

“We need elders more than ever, because of their unique ability to enrich us. They are the human equivalent to super glue,” said Dr. Thomas.

The list, which was published on October 28, 2015, includes thought leaders, executives, writers, artists, researchers, experts and everyday people who are changing how we age and think about aging in America.

The 2015 Influencers in Aging list also honors surgeon and author Dr. Atul Gawande as “Influencer of the Year”. A Harvard Medical School professor and staff writer for The New Yorker, Dr. Gawande is the author of the bestselling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.” Dr. Gawande’s book features The Green House Project as an example of successfully meeting the needs of the whole person rather than simply their diagnosis.

The individuals named as 2015 Influencers in Aging have made important contributions in Next Avenue’s 5 areas of focus:
• Caregiving
• Health & Well-Being
• Living & Learning
• Money & Security
• Work & Purpose

Learn about all 50 Influencers in Aging.

The Green House Project Attends Event at The White House

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Representatives of The New Jewish Home including CEO, Audrey Weiner (right)

Policy makers have the potential to make a huge difference in the lives of elders and long term care providers.  Recently, The Green House Project participated in the Briefing on Association of Jewish Aging Services (AJAS) Innovation and Technology.  Some innovations were technical in nature and some were a result of old fashioned intuition and common sense. The Administration and government representatives were duly impressed with what they heard through these AJAS presentations.

Green House adopter, The New Jewish Home, in Manhattan, NY, discussed their career growth program that develops young people for success in working with elders.  This opportunity to be in the hallowed walls of the White House, where so many important decisions are made, reminded us of the gravity of our work, and the impetus to create better places where we can age and work.

Portrait of a Green House Leader, John Ponthie

What Does it Mean to Lead Meaningful and Sustainable Change?

John Ponthie
John Ponthie, Managing Director, Southern Administrative Services

The “Portrait of a Green House Leader” series seeks to highlight talented leaders in The Green House network. It is powerful on many levels to hear these thought leaders share their insight and wisdom. The first of these leaders is John Ponthie, founding member and managing director of Southern Administrative Services, LLC.

Southern Administrative Services is a progressive long-term care operating company with twenty-six affiliated nursing homes in Arkansas, including two Green House campuses (Green House Cottages of Wentworth Place & Southern Hills).

John’s interest in long-term care began as a teenager working at a nursing home where he developed a love and appreciation for interacting with Elders. He went on to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Louisiana State University and a Master of Health Administration degree from Tulane University. John’s healthcare career of over twenty-five years includes sixteen years of hospital administration in addition to serving on the Board of Directors for the Arkansas Health Care Association and the Multi Facility CEO Council for the American Health Care Association.

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Wentworth Place in Winter, Magnolia, AR

Despite being a “proud owner” of several traditional long-term care facilities, John and his colleagues witnessed many of fundamental problems of high staff turnover rates and the institutional plagues of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom among Elders. “We knew there had to be a better answer, and for us it was The Green House Project” John says when describing his journey to becoming a Green House adopter.

He identifies that partnering with The Green House Project was crucial to overcoming the fear of change and breaking free from institutional barriers

“We didn’t know what we didn’t know… you know the old model and you’re comfortable with it and to take off in a new direction is difficult. We were in a dark room searching around for a light switch and The Green House Project had the flashlight.”

Working with The Green House Project provided him with the education, training, and the “stamp of approval” from a credible organization necessary to create the right culture to provide a better quality of care. To show the value of the quality of care associated with The Green House model, John successfully led the request for a differential in payment from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services through the first state plan amendment in Arkansas.

With two communities in operation, a third in development, and a fourth pending, John’s pride of association with The Green House model is spreading throughout Arkansas, proving that the model can be successful even in small markets. When discussing financial viability, John states that The Green House model creates a competitive edge that fosters the opportunity to do well through a payor mix while also providing high quality care. Specifically, maintaining a successful census of long-term care elders while incorporating 15-20% of short-term rehabilitation allows him to re-invest back into his business where is matters most; creating and sustaining the right culture to create and maintain a better quality of care.

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John describing The Green House model

From a value perspective, John relates that adopting The Green House model gives him the “trump card” over any other model of care. “Where there is an opportunity there needs to be a primary consideration for financial reasons, strategic reasons, and obvious reasons of care and quality.” Investing in The Green House model allows him to “plant his flag at the top as a market leader” and generates the opportunity for him contribute towards creating a better standard of life and care for future generations.

In his free time, John enjoys piloting and spending time with his wife and three children. Click here to listen to the webinar interview of John Ponthie.

“Any number of people can design or build the architecture but that doesn’t bring about the revolutionary change in culture that The Green House Project provides. For us to be able to leverage the successes and failures of so many other adopters is invaluable. The Green House Project has the expertise and structure to help manage our process in a manner that gives our project the highest possibility of success. “  -John Ponthie

 

Nancy Fox Honored with Highest Award in Colorado Long Term Care

Reprinted from Colorado Health Care Association

The highest honor anyone can receive in Colorado long term care is the Vesta Bowden Achievement Award.  This year’s award was presented to Nancy Fox, Chief Life Enhancement Officer with Vivage Quality Health Partners.

Nancy first applied her talents in the 1980s in Texas, including serving as an Administrator at a 120 bed facility, and then leaving to get her associate’s training at Eden in 1996. She was then “lured” to Colorado in 2008 to become Chief Life Enhancement Officer at Vivage where she, amongst other things, led the project development for the Green House Homes at Mirasol, a 60-person skilled nursing community in Loveland, Colorado.

Nancy and ElderNancy has served in numerous capacities with respect to the Colorado Culture Change Coalition, the Pioneer Movement and several association and governmental committees and work groups including being named as the first Executive Director of the Eden Board of Directors.

Anyone who has heard one of her training sessions cannot help to be inspired and empowered to serve our elders in their communities. In her role as a mentor, one of the nominee letters stated that “she has impacted thousands of elders and staff by promoting positive, caring qualities through a person centered care philosophy. This role was recognized in 1999 when she was named as Eden’s first national mentor.

Besides her service on many association and governmental committees, Nancy has authored a book about leadership pathways in culture change; a guide for administrators for person-centered care; another guide, called the Neighborhood Guide which is a 30 module training course for transforming institutional thinking into self-directed working environments that is now taught nationally.

Nancy has gone the extra mile for the elders that we serve by giving freely and generously to them and our profession.

Congratulations Nancy Fox!

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENT: THRIVE Research Results, Coming Soon!

Thrive2The buzz is about to begin !!  The THRIVE research team, which collected information in and about Green House homes and other nursing homes, completed its efforts.

Presentations of the results have been made at meetings of The Green House Project, the Pioneer Network, Advancing Excellence, LeadingAge, the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, the American Society on Aging, Academy Health, the Gerontological Society of America, and others.

In a few months, the THRIVE results will be published in Health Services Research, one of the top journals that impacts health practice and policy.  So, to repeat:  the “buzz” is about to begin!  2

Publication is expected to generate great interest and discussion among policy makers, providers, investors, and other stakeholders — promoting what works best about Green House homes and informing new practices. Green House webinars will be offered to provide updates along the way. Hold on for the ride!  MORE TO FOLLOW!

Fresh, farmed produce debuts at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community

October 7, 2015

Contact: Maureen Pearson, director of Communications

540-438-4205, 540-908-8979

Eating locally is a common phrase in the agricultural heavy Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, but for Virginia IMG_4056Mennonite Retirement Community, eating locally took on an entirely new meaning this summer.

The continuing care retirement community cultivated 1 ½ acres of land from its nearby farm for food production. The Farm at Willow Run owned and operated by VMRC began the growing season with an anticipated production yield goal of $24,000.

“Knowing where your food comes from is important, and the nutritional value of fresh produce grown nearby is excellent,” said Eric Phipps, executive chef at VMRC.

Growers used untreated and organic seeds and plants in plantiIMG_3903ng as much as possible, and with the farm just minutes from the retirement community, shipping and delivery were kept to a minimum.

Produce was integrated by Dining Services into soups, salad bars, side dishes, and desserts with excess sold at produce table.

“The feedback from the Heirloom tomato bisque and butternut squash pie was amazing,” said Phipps, who designed the menus to accommodate the garden produce.

Farm fresh produce also was utilized in assisted living activities of bean snapping and zucchini bread baking.

“The farm made good sense for VMRC as we identified ways to help people live a healthier lifestyle,” said Judith Trumbo, president and CEO.IMG_4043

Nearly 750 residents live at VMRC which also is home to Virginia’s only Green House community – Woodland Park.

Dr. Atul Gawande Speaks About Life and ‘Being Mortal’ to a Crowd in NYC

Dr. Atul Gawande speaks at The New Jewish Home  3rd Annual Himan Brown Symposium at the AXA Auditorium in New York, NY on October 2, 2015.  (photo by Stephen Smith)
Dr. Atul Gawande speaks at The New Jewish Home 3rd Annual Himan Brown Symposium at the AXA Auditorium in New York, NY on October 2, 2015. (photo by Stephen Smith)

More than 400 of The New Jewish Home’s friends, care partners, colleagues and supporters joined them on Friday, October 2nd at the AXA Auditorium in Manhattan as they hosted featured speaker, Dr. Atul Gawande.  Author of the best-selling book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, Dr. Gawande led the audience through the challenges we all face when making end-of-life choices for our loved ones and ourselves.  He spent some of his presentation highlighting the work of Dr. Bill Thomas and THE GREEN HOUSE (R) Project by sharing how the model is transforming long-term care and allowing elders to define what a good day means for them. Dr. Gawande applauded The New Jewish Home’s initiative in creating the Living Center of Manhattan, which will be the first 20 story Green House in a major metropolitan area, and for already opening 3 small houses based on The Green House model in their Westchester nursing home, the Sarah Neuman Center. Dr. Gawande cited these as true examples of positive transformation in eldercare.

Dr. Audrey Weiner and NY Times best selling author Dr. Atul Gawande discuss audience questions at The New Jewish Home  3rd Annual Himan Brown Symposium at the AXA Auditorium in New York, NY on October 2, 2015.  (Photo by Stephen Smith)
Dr. Audrey Weiner and NY Times best selling author Dr. Atul Gawande discuss audience questions at The New Jewish Home 3rd Annual Himan Brown Symposium at the AXA Auditorium in New York, NY on October 2, 2015. (Photo by Stephen Smith)

After his remarks, Dr. Gawande was joined on stage by The New Jewish Home’s CEO, Dr. Audrey Weiner, to engage in further dialogue on how we in America can do the best job possible caring for our elders.  The conversation was made possible and paid in full by a generous grant from the Himan Brown Charitable Trust, and the symposium is part of Jewish Home’s ongoing ongoing mission to change the way people think about and talk about eldercare.

The takeaway? Talking about death and dying is actually a conversation about life, and we should be having it with our loved ones sooner than we think.

Regulators and Providers Share Goals and Values

The Green House Project works with organizations in over 30 states to innovate long term care in a way that meets or exceeds the highest level of the regulations.  Collaboration with state regulators is pivotal to the success of the movement and well being of elders. To build and deepen relationships with regulators, Senior Director of The Green House Project, Susan Frazier Ryan,  recently attended the Association of Health Facilitator State Agencies (AHFSA) conference in Charleston, South Carolina.  This conference is an important opportunity to engage in dialogue with state regulators of skilled nursing homes and ensure that there is a clear understanding of The Green House model.

“We believe that providers and regulators share the goal of creating the highest quality environments and experiences to serve people who require long term care, and help them ‘attain or maintain their highest practicable level of well being.’  In order to achieve the goal and move the field forward, it is imperative that providers and regulators do not work in silos, but rather build mutual respect for each other’s vital role,” Ms. Ryan states. The Green House Project supports organizations to partner with regulators and create real homes where people live meaningful lives.

 

GROUNDBREAKING OF CLARK-LINDSEY’S GREEN HOUSE HOMES FOR DEMENTIA CARE

Green House Homes Will Be First of Their Kind in Champaign County

(Reprinted from Perkins Eastman) Last Thursday, September 24, in Urbana, IL, team members from the Chicago office of international design and architecture firm Perkins Eastman joined leadership from Clark-Lindsey for the groundbreaking of the CCRC’s new small homes for specialized dementia care—one devoted to assisted living and the other for skilled nursing care—that will follow The GREEN HOUSE® model. Each home will feature 12 private bedrooms, individualized care from specially trained caregivers, and home furnishings. The Perkins Eastman design team is led by Principal Jerry Walleck AIA and Associate Principal Ramu Ramachandran AIA, LEED AP, two key members of the firm’s renowned senior living practice area.

clark lindseyClark-Lindsey has partnered with The Green House Project and Perkins Eastman to help usher in a new and superior standard of care for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia-related illnesses. The introduction of these homes not only marks the first Green House project in Champaign County but also a major step forward for how Illinois providers and regulatory officials are looking to institute efficient and innovative care models for seniors. Green House homes are designed to provide a personalized model of care within a real home setting, replete with an open kitchen, dining room and other common areas, setting them apart from the traditional institutional model that can resemble a hospital or nursing home.

clark lindsey2The new homes, situated on a 10,000 sf footprint, will feature an architectural design where every inch of space has been carefully considered in order to transform the physical environment to feel more like home. From the outdoor courtyard, library and den areas to the open kitchen providing home cooked meals, these amenities encourage social contact among elders and caregivers. The homes’ design is tailored to maintain existing on-site trees as well as acknowledge the natural surroundings with respect to building proportion, scale and form, while also taking full advantage of the expansive views of adjacent Meadowbrook Park.

“Clark-Lindsey is already known within the industry as a leader and innovator when it comes to care,” says Jerry Walleck, the project’s design lead, “and the new Green House homes are a continuation of that. They will provide invaluable care and services to dementia residents and their families, and it’s an enormous privilege to have played our part in making that happen.” Both homes are scheduled to open in late 2016.

Clark-Lindsey Village was founded in 1978 and is the area’s first and only CCRC. It is one of only eight certified Centers for Successful Aging in the U.S. In addition to its forthcoming dementia care small homes, Clark-Lindsey Village offers extensive independent living accommodations, as well as inpatient and outpatient therapy services, assisted living and skilled nursing care at its Meadowbrook Health Center.

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 and meaningful relationships between residents and care staff.

About Perkins Eastman
Perkins Eastman is among the top design and architecture firms in the world. With almost 950 employees in 14 locations around the globe, Perkins Eastman practices at every scale of the built environment. From niche buildings to complex projects that enrich whole communities, the firm’s portfolio reflects a dedication to progressive and inventive design that enhances the quality of the human experience. With work in 46 states and more than 40 countries, the firm’s portfolio includes transportation and public infrastructure, high-end residential, commercial, hotels, retail, office buildings, corporate interiors, schools, hospitals, museums, senior living, and public sector facilities. Perkins Eastman provides award-winning design through its offices in North America (New York, NY; Boston, MA; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Los Angeles, CA; Pittsburgh, PA; San Francisco, CA; Stamford, CT; Toronto, Canada; and Washington, DC); South America (Guayaquil, Ecuador); North Africa and Middle East (Dubai, UAE); and Asia (Mumbai, India, and Shanghai, China).

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