Change is often a complicated process, however the results can be amazing.
Lori Gonzalez, a research faculty member at the Claude Pepper Center at Florida State University has written a guest column shared by the Tampa Bay Times expressing her desire for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration to be an agency that makes a change that will have amazing results for those needing nursing homes in the future.
As states realize that deteriorating nursing homes combined with an aging population mean that new nursing homes need to be constructed, they are faced with an option—build more of the same traditional, large nursing facilities or construct innovative homes that allow elders to live full and enriched lives.
Although Certificate of Need (CON) programs restrict the supply of new nursing home beds in 36 states, some states have lifted the moratorium on new construction as the demand has outgrown supply. For example, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration is currently reviewing CON applications and has approved the construction of 23 new nursing homes, and the expansion of 23 current nursing facilities, totaling close to 3,000 beds. The agency can approve CONs for a maximum of 3,750 beds between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2017. Nine of the new construction approvals are for large facilities that plan to have 120 beds or more, while one of the approvals is for a 180 bed facility. These “new” facilities will be similar to the traditional nursing homes that have prevailed over the past 50 years, with little design change despite the persistently negative views of nursing homes by the public and the people who are most likely to need to live in one.
There are alternatives to the traditional model. The Green House model, born out of the nursing home “culture change” movement in 2003, is one such alternative. Today, almost 200 Green Houses operate in 27 states across the country. Licensed as skilled nursing facilities, Assisted Living Facilities or adult group homes, Green Houses are groups of homes, each with 10 – 12 elders living in each one.