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.
LONGMEADOW, MA— JGS Lifecare celebrated a major milestone today in the construction of the new Sosin Center for Rehabilitation with the ceremonial “Topping Off” of the steel structure. Construction workers, employees, residents, physicians, community members, elected officials, members of the Board of Directors, donors, and veterans gathered April 13 as the beam was hoisted atop the roof-line of the new rehab center, which is located next to the Leavitt Family Jewish Home at 770 Converse Street.
“JGS Lifecare is transforming the patient experience by delivering leading edge patient-centered care in innovative new facilities,” said Marty Baicker, FACHE, president and CEO, JGS Lifecare. “Partnering with The GREEN HOUSE PROJECT, we will implement the small house model of care in the Sosin Center, replacing hospital-like environments with real homes and greater engagement with those we serve.”
Research shows that a real home environment has significant benefits such as reduced medication use and re-hospitalizations, greater socialization and interaction with care givers, which can lead to faster recovery.
The ‘Topping Off’ ceremony is a long-standing tradition in construction, held when the highest beam of steel is placed atop a structure during construction. A small fir tree was also affixed; symbolizing the building will be everlasting. The American flag that was given to JGS Lifecare as a keepsake of the building’s benefactor, George Sosin, was attached to the beam and ceremoniously raised by officers of the Longmeadow Police. Sosin was a dedicated JGS Lifecare volunteer and supporter until his passing in 2013. His gift of $3 million represents the largest contribution in the 103 year history of JGS Lifecare. The building is named in Sosin’s honor as a testament to his unmatched philanthropic commitment.
Designed by Perkins Eastman, an industry leader in the planning and design of elder care facilities and short term rehabilitation programs, the two-story 24,000 square foot Sosin Center will contain two self-contained homes for up to 24 people. A dedicated team of staff will provide care and make the decisions that are important to daily life. Everything in this environment is designed to prepare patients to go home, because it feels like home, featuring private rooms and bathrooms, an open kitchen and family-style dining areas. Michael’s Café will connect the Sosin Center to the Leavitt Family Jewish Home, bridging old to new and honoring the late Michael Frankel, a former Chair of the JGS Lifecare Board of Directors, and ardent supporter of Project Transformation – A New World of Care.
“Evidence shows that people recover faster in a smaller community where they have direct opportunities for engagement with their physical therapist, with their physician, with their direct care givers, said Anne M. Thomas, vice president residential health, JGS Lifecare. “Because they are in a rehab setting, because they’re getting their rehabilitative services needs met in a small community, they actually encourage each other to get better.”
The eight-foot long ceremonial beam that was raised was placed in the lobby of the Leavitt Family Jewish Home March 16, 2016. Hundreds of people, including residents, patients, physicians, visitors, employees, board of directors, community and committee members, signed the beam and made their mark on history. This morning, several more honored guests added their signatures, including Springfield Mayor Domenic R. Sarno, Longmeadow Town Manager Stephen Crane and Longmeadow Select Board Chairman Richard Foster. In his remarks, Mayor Sarno spoke of his warm regards for the lifecare services we’ve provided his family, and praised JGS Lifecare for efforts to transform the care we provide.
“People are excited. They’re enthusiastic. They can really see the opportunities that Green House will bring to how we care for our elders, and they want to be part of it,” said Susan Kimball Halpern, vice president of philanthropy, JGS Lifecare. “We are creating innovative and important programs that will change outcomes for our residents and patients for generations to come. It’s something the community can be very proud to be part of.”
Construction of the $11m+ Sosin Center project, part of the $20m Project Transformation projects, is supported in part by a $9m Project Transformation Capital Campaign. Project Transformation will introduce the Green House/small house model of care in the Sosin Center, followed by renovations in this model of two sub-acute units in the nursing home. Future plans will carry the model throughout the nursing home. The Sosin Center will be the only Green House certified facility in western Massachusetts. Construction is expected to be complete in late summer, opening in September 2016.
About JGS Lifecare: JGS Lifecare is a leading health care system serving seniors and their families. JGS Lifecare services include nursing home care, home health and hospice care, assisted living, adult day health care, rehabilitation services, palliative care, music therapy and subsidized independent living.
About the Sosin Center for Rehabilitation: Now under construction, the Sosin Center for Rehabilitation will bring the Green House model of care, a more homelike setting for people undergoing rehabilitative care, to JGS Lifecare. The 24-bed short term care/rehabilitation building will be connected to our existing nursing home by a promenade that will include Michael’s Café, a new kosher coffee shop and cafeteria. The Sosin Center is scheduled to open in September 2016.
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 and meaningful relationships between residents and care staff.
It’s a common refrain that adult children hear from their parents: “No matter what, promise that you’ll never put me in a nursing home.” These seniors obviously have not visited a Green House, a unique alternative to the traditional nursing facility.
By highlighting the comprehensive transformation that occurs when an organization implements The Green House model, Garland is able to show that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that the cornerstone of the model’s effectiveness is the deep relationships that form as a result: “In the traditional nursing home, you don’t have time to develop the relationships that you have in these homes,” says James Farnan, administrator of Eddy Village Green. “When you have the same group of people taking care of the same group of elders, you get to know what they like and don’t like.”
“By 2030, twenty percent of our population will be over the age of 65. And by 2050, there will be 27 million people in this country who will need assistance with everyday living. As a nation, we cannot afford to not have a plan for this.”
According to Ai-jen, one plan that will provide stability and protection for the most vulnerable among us is the creation of a national care grid to increase creative solutions and choices for those in need of long-term care. Some examples of innovative organizations that will make up the fabric of this grid are Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs), Villages and Green House homes.
As co-director of Caring Across Generations , Ai-jen encouraged the audience to recognize the importance of building a national movement to improve care. She explained that we must protect what we have built so far and work together to create what we will need in the future.
Are you interested in joining this movement to transform care? Visit our Support the Movement page today and learn how to take action by becoming a part of the Caring Across Generations campaign.
“Living in a Green House is the only reason I continue to live a vital and productive life,” Steve Saling, recently told The Atlantic, “It doesn’t matter if you are an elder or disabled, people want to live with dignity and respect, make their own decisions and direct their own care.”
In her in-depth article, Alana Samuels explores the history of Leonard Florence Center for Living and The Green House Project. She describes the challenges and triumphs that come from shifting the paradigm of long term care, and unlocking the human spirit. “This is not a nursing home with residential trappings,” Saling emphasizes, “It is my home that happens to provide skilled nursing services.”
Barry Berman, CEO of Chelsea Jewish Foundation, has found success operating Green House homes, saying that there are efficiencies that make Green Houses, in some ways, less expensive to run. Still, it is not the bottom line that is driving Mr. Berman’s desire to transform the nursing home, but rather the human component, “The whole purpose of doing the renovations is to make the nursing home into a place that people want to spend time, rather than a place that mostly focuses on meeting regulations and controlling costs.”
Green House adopter, Jewish Home Lifecare, raises funds for person-directed care as it celebrates 8 remarkable elders who are over the age of 80
The annual benefit gala hosted by New York City’s Jewish Home Lifecare, a 167-year-old elder care provider, is most definitely not the same old, same old. It is, in fact, an event unlike any other.
Called “Eight Over Eighty” and slated to take place on Wednesday, March 11, at the Mandarin Oriental New York, the event will pay tribute to eight New Yorkers who, in their 80s and 90s, continue to live lives of remarkable achievement, vitality and civic engagement.
The second annual “Eight Over Eighty” will honor author and photographer ARLENE ALDA, cabaret artist BARBARA CARROLL, actor JOEL GREY, graphic designer MILTON GLASER (of, among many other things, fame), volunteer extraordinaire PATRICIA (PAT) JACOBS, and business people and philanthropists CHARLES M. DIKER, IRWIN HOCHBERG, and RITA & FRED RICHMAN.
(The first event, in 2014, honored an equally impressive line-up of octogenarians and nonagenarians: actor DOMINIC “UNCLE JUNIOR SOPRANO” CHIANESE; gay rights trailblazer EDIE WINDSOR; power couple and developer of 1 World Trade Center KLARA & LARRY SILVERSTEIN,; DICK EISNER, founder of one of the country’s largest and most successful accounting firms; EMILY & EUGENE GRANT, philanthropist and real estate developer; and JOAN WACHTLER, a tireless champion of the aging.)
“This event reflects the changing times we live in – times that will see 30 percent of the U.S. population reach 80 or older by 2030,” says CEO Audrey Weiner. “It also goes right to the heart of what Jewish Home Lifecare is all about: celebrating the vitality of older adults, honoring their lives, and respecting their individuality.”
Jewish Home Lifecare is one of the nation’s largest and most diversified nonprofit geriatric care institutions. Each year it provides 12,000 elders with healthcare services and long-term living options suited to their individual needs. Those options include short-term rehabilitation, long-term skilled nursing care, semi- and fully-independent-living residences, and day programs on three campuses, in The Bronx, Manhattan and Westchester. Through its telemedicine program and its extensive home healthcare network, Jewish Home also enables thousands of New Yorkers to age in place.
The money raised by “Eight Over Eighty” will go to support Jewish Home’s person-directed approach to eldercare, an approach epitomized by the long-term care residence being developed for the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
The Living Center will have 22 of the Green House model’s trademark small, nurturing households, each with 12 private bedrooms and baths clustered around a large, homey shared living and dining space. Dedicated staff will prepare meals and arrange activities, outings and special events according to residents’ wishes, and provide whatever assistance they need with dressing, dining and other daily tasks. Medical personnel will be centralized elsewhere in the building, providing ongoing monitoring and care as appropriate.
The result will be a long-term care environment that offers residents the privacy, dignity and autonomy every human being deserves as well as the comfort and support of a small, close-knit community. The residents, by living in a place reminiscent of the New York City homes in which they spent much, if not all, of their adulthood, will be able to stay connected to the lives they have lived and the familiar surroundings in which they have lived them.
Jewish Home Lifecare has already implemented the Green House philosophy to eldercare at its Westchester branch, known as the Sarah Neuman Center. There, 26 elders are comfortably and happily settled in two of what will be seven Green House model inspired homes known as Small Houses. “The Green House model is the future not only of Jewish Home Lifecare, but of long-term care for all older adults,” says Weiner. “There is no other model that actively recognizes the personhood of the men and women we are privileged to care for and that enables them to take the lead in their own lives.”
A recent article in The Wall Street Journal exposes many common myths of aging. Some of these myths have become so common, they could easily be mistaken for the truth. Have you ever heard someone say, “depression is a normal part of aging” or “cognitive impairment is inevitable with age”? This article clears the air for six big myths about aging. You can read more here.
For many people, the myths of aging may have come from observing what Dr. Thomas calls the three plagues of long-term care: loneliness, helplessness, and boredom. Fortunately, the culture change movement is showing us what aging is really all about – another stage of growth and development for all people.
Today, nearly 2,000 Elders across the nation are living in Green House homes in partnership with caring Shahbazim, clinical support teams and families. The swell of national recognition that we have received over the past year is a clear indication that the Green House model is well positioned to experience rapid growth and adoption in the new year as Americans embrace the power of meaningful life, real home and empowered staff as they age.