Green House Blog

‘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.

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THRIVE Research – What does this mean for Green House Homes?

THRIVE Research – What does this mean for Green House Homes?


You’ve probably heard about the THRIVE  research studies aimed at learning more about how the Green House model works and how it differs from other models of care.   You might be curious what this means for the Green House projects over the next few years.


Many of the Green House projects will be getting calls over the next year to discuss participation. Research team members from Pioneer Network, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of North Carolina, and Health Management Strategies will be contacting several projects to ask them to participate in one or more parts of the study.


Here are some terms you might hear or see:


Questionnaires: These are paper or electronic surveys staff complete on a topic.


Site Visit: Several Green House projects will be asked to host a visit by a small team of friendly researchers (usually 2-4 people).  The purpose of the visit is to collect information on what life is like in the Green House homes for shabhazim and elders and how care is provided.


Interviews: Interviews are one way researchers get to know details about how things work in the Green House homes. Interviewees will be asked questions that allow them to tell stories and share their experiences.


What is a site visit like? 

Enjoyable !  A site visit from the research team is not like a visit from state regulators, in that the intent is to learn and not to evaluate.  It’s a time for researchers to learn about what life and care is like in a Green House, and for Green House staff, shabhazim, and elders to have the opportunity to contribute to what is being learned.  


Lori Kinney, Green House Guide at Lebanon Valley Brethren Home, has experienced a few site visits from research teams. “The research team’s communication was great, whether it was through emails or phone conversations. The visits went well… Since we, staff and elders, were prepared for the visits from the research team, things moved along swiftly and elders always appreciate visits from ‘new’ people that enjoy listening and talking with them.”


The researchers understand that the Green Houses are the elders’ homes and intend to minimize disruption as much as possible. The researchers are flexible and know things can “pop up” that make it difficult for staff to attend to the research needs during the visit. Elder’s needs are always the top priority.


The research team looks forward to working with the Green House homes! Questions about THRIVE can be directed to Lauren Cohen ( or 919-843-8874).


 The THRIVE research studies are funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Revolutionizing Environment and Transforming Mindset of Long Term Care

    Sarah Hoffman, Shahbaz, Lebanon Valley Brethran Home, Palmyra, PA

Having worked in long term care for the past 12 years, I’ve seen my share of the good, the bad and the ugly. I’ve also had the privilege of working in the Green Houses in Palmyra, PA for the past four years, and truly feel this is how long term care should have been modeled all along. While the environment is a vast improvement to traditional nursing homes and fosters more opportunities for elders to be more active and independent than they could in a traditional setting, that is only one side of the coin. I think what sets the Green House model apart is the deep rooted mission and passion that all staff share to let elders rule. Life doesn’t stop simply because one requires skilled nursing services, and all staff in Green Houses, from the shahbaz (caregiver), to the nurse, to the administration/support team undergo training to recognize this and empower the elders entrusted to our care to thrive and live life to the fullest despite whatever medical needs they have. Instead of having to conform to a schedule built around staff efficiency and convenience, elders in Green Houses truly get to live life on their terms and set their personal routines for each day based on their preferences and needs. As staff, we get to know our elders far better than we ever could in a traditional setting…we truly are family. Because we have more time to spend with the elders, we are able to deeply learn about the entire person and the rich lives they’ve led through the stories they and their families share. This allows us to help our elders create meaningful daily routines and engagement opportunities with not only staff, their families and each other, but their community as well. The Green House model isn’t only revolutionizing environment, it is transforming the mindset of long term care by putting the focus back on the elder, not the diagnosis (regardless of how severe or advanced it may be). There is a better way, and I’m honored to witness elders living it daily.