Green House Blog

The Evolution and Impact of The Green House model: Interview with Journalist and Author, Beth Baker

Beth Baker, Journalist

There are 214 Green House homes, however there are 15,600 traditional nursing homes in our country.  As we work to transform long term care, Beth Baker has been a critical voice in journalism, describing innovations in the field.  She has spent the last decade telling the story of culture change to a wide audience and earlier this month, Beth Baker highlighted The Green House model as The Nursing Home of the Future, in Politico Magazine.  

As a journalist and author, Beth Baker, writes about healthcare in outlets like The Washington Post and the AARP Bulletin, describing what is possible in long term care,”What [The Green House Project] does is to demonstrate that people can keep living and enjoying life until their last breath given the right environment and relationships.”  This journey led her to Tupelo, the first Green House homes, and the transformative story of Mildred Adams:

Beth became intrigued by the rich human stories found throughout the culture change world, and eventually decided to write a book, Old Age in A New Age.  Her work has expanded,  in a second book, With A Little Help From Our Friends, that focuses on “the importance of community and social connection as we grow older.”  Beth sees boundless opportunities to write about people who are,”looking at aging in our society and thinking about how to make it a richer and more respected time of life.”

When Politico approached Beth, they asked her to write a visionary piece about the nursing home of the future… when Beth pitched The Green House model, they were delighted to see the potential that exists today to create meaningful lives for those who live and work in long term care.

In her reporting for the Politico article, Beth visited Lebanon Valley Brethren Home in Palmyra, PA.  After a three hour drive on a cold, rainy day she shared how warm and welcoming it was to ring the doorbell and walk into the home, ” there was a fire in the hearth and one of the women was doing a jigsaw puzzle… it felt so familiar and was just a reminder of why [The Green House] is such a wonderful model”.  Through interviews with elders and Lebanon Valley Brethren Home CEO, Jeff Shireman, Beth was able to convey the comprehensive nature of the model, and how the interplay of the environment, organizational redesign and philosophy work together to create positive clinical, financial and satisfaction outcomes, “Having a strong case for the finances and business outcomes of The Green House Project has been really important, ” remarks Baker.

Beth Baker’s credible voice shines light on the potential for aging to be different, and it is so important that we continue, because as Beth shares, we have a lot of work to do, ” … It is going to take a culture change beyond long term care… [we need] a change in how we view aging, to get people to accept that it doesn’t have to be the way that it has always been.”

To read the full Politico Article>> 

 

 

‘The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly’ and The Green House model: An Innovative and Cost-Effective Partnership for Comprehensive Care

Lori Gonzalez is a PhD researcher at the Claude Pepper Center of Florida State University who studies alternatives to traditional nursing care and social inequality.

The first Green House homes included in a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) partnership will open in early February, joining together two of the nation’s most promising long-term care models.  The Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Green House homes, located in the Thome Rivertown Neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan will serve approximately 21 lower-income older adults who are otherwise able to live safely in the community, but who are currently residing in skilled nursing facilities.  According to Capital Impact Partners, serving these older adults in Green House homes with the support of PACE, compared to providing care in a traditional nursing facility, is expected to save the state’s Medicaid system about $130,000 per year.

PACE began in California in the 1970s as an alternative to institutional long-term care.  A group of Chinese, Italian, Filipino, and other immigrants held cultural views about caring for their loved ones that departed from the larger culture of aging in nursing homes.  They formed “On Lok” meaning peaceful, happy abode.   By 1986, On Lok developed the nation’s first comprehensive model of coordinated care and by 1997, the program became a permanent provider under Medicare and a state option under Medicaid.  Today, PACE operates 116 programs in 32 states and serves over 30,000 older adults, most of whom are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.  PACE operates with the belief that, “it is better for the well-being of seniors with chronic care needs and their families to be served in the community whenever possible.”  With the assistance of the PACE program, 90% of participants who might otherwise enter a nursing home are able to live in the community.

PACE provides comprehensive care to those who are eligible for the program.  PACE eligibility includes being 55 or older, certified by the state to need a nursing home level of care, residing near a PACE care center, and having the ability to live safely in the community. When an individual enrolls in PACE, they (and their family) meet with a team of care professionals including social workers, nurses, primary care physicians, and nutritionists to help craft a plan to serve an elder in the community.  PACE participants visit a PACE care center routinely where they, depending on their plan of care, might receive a flu shot, dialysis, dental care, respite care, a hot meal, physical therapy, transportation, or participate in social activities.  Family members who visit the center receive counseling or advice on how to care for their loved one.

Green House homes also provide quality care and quality of life, but in a residential setting.  In Green House homes, “elders and others enjoy excellent quality of life and quality of care; where they, their families and the staff engage in meaningful relationships…” and when licensed as ALFs, they provide a community-residential setting for elders that is expected to exceed the quality provided by other ALF models.  Green House homes are not just homelike, they are places where elders call home.

The goals and values supported by PACE and The Green House model are similar and their partnership will honor elders’ preferences to avoid a nursing home and to live in the least restrictive care setting possible. Green House homes provide high quality residential living and PACE provides the physical health, mental health, social health, and family support for both acute care needs and long-term care needs.  Furthermore, PACE and Green House value the belief that all elders should have access to quality care and a good quality of life. PACE serves mostly dual eligible, frail elders and Green House homes are meant to be available to all, regardless of income or wealth.  The Green Houses at Rivertown Neighborhood, along with PACE will support these values by serving 21 low-income elders.

Aging in place is highly desired by older adults, but sometimes financially out of reach.  The Thome Rivertown model demonstrates that creating a Continuing Care Retirement Community for lower income individuals is possible and that when PACE and Green House are integrated into that community, high quality, cost-effective care is achievable.

‘Politico’ Hails The Nursing Home of the Future

politico1In Rebooting The Nursing Home, Beth Baker shares the deep human stories that describe The Green House model and shaped her visit to Lebanon Valley Brethren Home.  These Green House homes are a part of a “growing movement to transform nursing homes from medicalized institutions to places that feel much more like home.”

Resident choice and autonomy, a homey environment, and well-trained and invested staff are hallmarks of the Green House and similar models that are slowly and fundamentally changing long-term care for Americans who otherwise could be forced into traditional nursing homes.

Lebanon Valley Brethren Home has experienced the model’s benefits from a business politico2perspective, as well.  CEO, Jeff Shireman shared that after the capital investment, operating costs have been comparable or even lower than their traditional nursing home.  This cost savings is directly correlated with the comprehensive paradigm shift of the model and fully leveraging the role of the versatile worker (known as a shahbaz), “What you must do as a leader is to support [the shahbazim] and empower them and hold them accountable,” says the Green House Project’s Senior Director, Susan Ryan. “That is where you’ll see the efficiency.”

politico3This article paints a warm picture of a day in the life of a Green House home, and the elements that make it a viable model that is changing the landscape of long term care.

Read The Full Article>>

ProBuilder.com, Green House Innovative in Design and Model

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The Green House Cottages of Carmel, Carmel, IN

An intentionally built environment is crucial to support the success a person-directed home.  ProBuilder Magazine highlights innovation in senior care with a focus on the comprehensive transformation of The Green House model.  Green House “has three core values,” says senior director Susan Frazier Ryan, “real homes, meaningful life (culture) and empowered staff (organizational change/human architecture, all of which help an elder live the best life.”

This article features innovative Green House homes, including St. John’s, the first

St. John's Penfield Green House homes in Rochester.  SWBR designed these homes in collaboration with the team from St. John's and The Green House Project
Penfield Green House homes of St. John’s, Rochester, NY

community integrated Green House homes as a model to influence future developers as they look to meet the needs of an aging population,”In 10 years, the first of the 77 million baby boomers will turn 80. That’s the age, say those involved in senior housing, where the intersection of the built environment and health is critical.”

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