Green House Blog

Build This, Not That: Lessons Learned From a Decade of Green House Home Experience

Rob and Debbie speaking on this topic at The Pioneer Network Conference
Rob and Debbie speaking on this topic at The Pioneer Network Conference

Green House Project Guide Debbie Wiegand, LNHA and Rob Simonetti, Senior Associate with SWBR Architects highlight key Green House design lessons learned from over a decade of experience in the webinar “Build This, Not That: Lessons Learned From a Decade of Green House Home Experience.”  These lessons are supported by research, and have helped Green House adopters to partner with regulators to build residential homes that meet the highest level of skilled nursing licensing standards.

The core values of Real Home, Meaningful Life, and Empowered Staff represent the physical, philosophical, and organizational transformation that allows those working, living, and visiting Green House homes to “feel the difference” when they enter the front door. Design topics are addressed as they relate to The Green House experience, focusing on insight and value of design concepts that foster how the core values are lived and integrated in Green House Homes. Real home design elements are crucial in supporting elders and empowering staff to create a meaningful life within The Green House home. A strong evidence base of research around the core values provides insight into what makes the model unique and sustainable, and provides an opportunity for positive outcomes. These data driven practices are crucial solutions to share with providers, policy makers, and consumers when beginning the design process and overcoming regulatory hurdles.

“It’s all about relationships” when introducing this new, different model of care. In order to achieve this radical

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

change in care, collaborating with state regulatory agencies is critical to develop strategies that create win-win outcomes for providers and regulators. Common goals are established through a formal meeting with the state regulatory agency to observe opportunities for insight on important topics and discuss strategies that honor the agency’s values while exceeding regulatory compliance through evidence based solutions. Green House has partnered with over 30 state agencies by creating opportunities to establish common ground and execute mutually shared goals through innovative strategies and model education. In the webinar, Debbie provides suggestions for adopters related to the top five regulatory hurdles that she has experienced; fireplaces, medication storage, elimination of the nurse’s station, open kitchens, and corridors. Green House adopters are encouraged to dialogue with regulators about ways to minimize potential harm while using evidence to support the impact the feature will have towards building quality of life.

When designing Green House homes, Rob encourages listeners to “think beyond the front door”, emphasizing that the experience of getting to the home should be integrated within the neighborhood and connect individuals back to their experiences and culture of that community through the location, regional architecture, and shared amenities of the home. Rob identifies lessons learned in various aspects of the home as the model has evolved over the past decade including home design, size, room layout, lighting, appliances, and furniture, highlighting responses of what works and what doesn’t from a recent survey of Green House adopter’s design experience.

Interested in learning more about Green House design? Listen to the webinar and learn more about the design process>>

 

Pioneer Network Highlights The Green House Project as Thought Leader

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Rhonda Wolpert, Rob Simonetti and Debbie Wiegand share Design Lessons Learned

The Green House Project was highlighted as an innovator and thought leader during the 2015 Pioneer Network Conference.  The Pioneer Network is a convener of organizations who are moving away from institutional models of long term care to more consumer-driven models that embrace flexibility, self-determination and a belief that elders are meant to thrive.  During the stimulating days of educational sessions, representatives from the national Green House initiative, and Green House organizations from around the country spoke on various topics to help move the field forward.

Debbie Wiegand, Rhonda Wolpert and Rob Simonetti shared design lessons learned in their session, “Build This, Not That, Lessons Learned from a Decade of Green House Experience.”   Since the first home opened in 2003, there have been variations in layout and design. Through a formal Design Survey, The Green House Project asked every Green House adopter what works and what doesn’t for building design and regulatory challenges, and what strategies worked to overcome perceived regulatory code barriers. Also, insights from newly completed THRIVE research help us understand how the design contributes to sustainability, from operating cost and quality of care perspectives. Listen to this webinar that Debbie and Rob did to help those interested in changing the paradigm of long term care, build environments that support a new way of life.

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Cheryl VanBemden, Marla DeVries, and Susan Frazier take us into the “black box” or Green House

Susan Frazier, Marla DeVries and Cheryl Van Bemden took audience members “Into The Black Box of Green House homes”.  Here they talked about the impact of decision making to reinforce or erode culture change. Utilizing new insights from The Research Initiative Valuing Eldercare (THRIVE), a collaborative of top researchers created to learn more about what contributes to higher quality in nursing homes, this session explored the factors impacting problem-solving in long-term care organizations that lead to reinforcement or erosion of an empowered workforce, and person-centered models. Participants explored the four factors that the research determined to most greatly impact sustainability, while discovering organizational strengths and growth opportunities to create a slip-resistant change.

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Tammy Marshall, Mirian Levi and Lori Grossman from Jewish Home Lifecare

Tammy Marshall, Lori Grossman and Miriam Levi shared their experience of implementing person-centered care principles across Jewish Home Lifecare, a large organization with multiple sites.  Tammy Marshall facilitated a second session with Sonya Barsness.  They spoke about the importance of research to support “culture change” and “person-centered care.” They shared research that is being done at Jewish Home Lifecare, and how others can access research, translate it to those who need it most, and identify opportunities for additional research.

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Marla DeVries speaking about Research and Sustainability

Finally, the team from Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh shared a special session called, “Honoring the Spirit Within Through Namaste Care: An End-of-Life Program for Persons with Dementia”.  Namaste Care takes its name from the Hindu word meaning “to honor the spirit within.” The program was developed for elders with advanced dementia and strives to maintain their highest quality of life. It includes simple and practical ways for care partners to create opportunities for connection, meaning, and joy.

This conference is always an energy boost, knowing that the movement to transform long term care, and what it means to age, is growing, evolving and gaining momentum.  The Green House Project is honored to be a leader of culture change and will continue to pursue evidence based excellence, that is based in deep knowing relationships, meaningful life and empowerment for all.