For the first time since Rhode Island imposed a moratorium on additional nursing home beds nearly 20 years ago, a state approved project is getting underway in East Greenwich. Saint Elizabeth Home broke ground on October 27th and will build four Green House homes. “It has been a long road to get to today,” said Steven J. Horowitz, President and CEO of Saint Elizabeth Community. “We first heard about Green House homes in 2006, but it all began in earnest for our organization in 2009 when we took a group of our nursing home resident on an overnight beach vacation to Cape Cod.” Horowitz says, “This showed us how quality of life for nursing home residents could greatly be enhanced through smaller home environments and empowered/cross trained employees.”
Each home will have 12 Elders and will be built next to the existing Saint Elizabeth Home. They will include private bedrooms and bath, along with a common hearth and dining area and open kitchen. There will be a front porch and back patio area for easy access by the elders.
At the ground breaking, Saint Elizabeth Home Chief Operating Officer Matthew Trimble said, “the unfortunate consequence of the moratorium was the stifling of innovation.” In 2010 legislation was passed that would allow for beds from skilled nursing facilities that closed, or that were taken out of use, to be held by the RI Department of Health for potential future use. It opened the door for innovation and the team at the Saint Elizabeth Home was more than ready to present their ideas!
The journey to build Green House homes in Rhode Island officially got underway this week with The Green House Project team delivering the first educational session to create a coaching culture with Saint Elizabeth Home leadership.
While a moratorium on building or adding skilled nursing rooms has been in place for years in Rhode Island—Saint Elizabeth Home was one of three applications approved by the Department of Health to deliver a new model of care for skilled nursing.
Matt Trimble, Administrator of Saint Elizabeth Home says “We are thrilled with this approval and look forward to expand our ability to care for RI seniors in a new and creative way on our Saint Elizabeth Home campus.”
The plans call for the construction of four Green House homes. 12 Elders will live in each home which will include private bedrooms and bathrooms, a common hearth area, and meals cooked in an open kitchen area.
The leadership and trustees at Saint Elizabeth Community have been researching The Green House model for a number of years. Steven J. Horowitz, President and CEO of Saint Elizabeth Community explained, “We have been very invested as an organization in bringing this new model of care to Rhode Island, and know that it will change the way long term care is delivered.”
The next step will be to apply for a certificate of need and Saint Elizabeth Home has been approved for an expeditious review.
Saint Elizabeth Home is a member of Saint Elizabeth Community, a not for profit, charitable organization that provides a variety of care and services to elders. Founded in Providence in 1882, the organization now has ten RI locations which includes affordable apartments, adult day centers, assisted living, skilled nursing and rehab centers.