Green House Blog

Capitol Hill Policy Briefing Highlights, The Green House Project

On February 8, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation held a policy briefing on Capitol Hill entitled, “Redesigning the Nursing Home: How The Green House® Project is improving the Way We Care for Older Americans”

Held in one of the beautiful rooms of the Capitol Visitors Center Room, more than 100 representatives from Congressional offices, Congressional Committee staff, Federal , State and Municipal Government Agencies, as well as National and State Aging Organizations attended the briefing.

The intent of the policy briefing was to raise awareness of The Green House Project as a solution for transforming Nursing Home Care and meeting the needs of the impending “age wave” facing our nation.

Moderated by Dr. Jane Isaacs Lowe, senior advisor for program development, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the briefing began with and brief introduction and presentation of a video to create a virtual experience of The Green House model.

Distinguished speakers included Robert Jenkens, MSRED, Managing Director, Aging and Independence, NCB Capital Impact; Dr. David Grabowski, professor of health care policy, Harvard Medical School (via video conferencing); Dr. Alice Bonner, RN, FAANP, director, Division of Nursing Homes in the Center for Medicaid, CHIP and Survey & Certification, Department of Health and Human Services and Pamela Sanberg, RN, NEA-BC, MS, NHA, Green House home guide, Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center , North Chicago, IL.

Speakers highlighted the various aspects of the program, such as the research to support the clinical and financial viability of this model. Pamela Sanberg spoke on behalf of the Veteran’s Association saying, “The small house model, exemplified by The Green House model is well suited to serve our wounded warriors.” The mission of The Green House Project is to make this model an option for elders in every community. Currently in 32 states, The Green House Project feels confident that there are no regulatory barriers to inhibit the this model from developing across the country.

We are hopeful that all attendees especially congressional staff and federal, state and municipal staff came away with valuable information and will continue to look to The Green House® Project as an innovative model for the future of long term care.

Bringing Game-Changing Ideas to Scale

The Green House Project has been called the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) signature example of bringing game-changing ideas to scale. It started with an idea 12 years ago for a housing and skilled-nursing care environment that could provide a better, warmer, and more dignified alternative to traditional nursing home facilities for frail elders. Today, there are 137 Green House homes in 22 states across the U.S., with many more in development.

In this case study for The Green House Project, Jane Isaacs Lowe, Vulnerable Populations team director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), shares the strategy around bringing an innovation to scale.  She believes that “when it comes to nurturing social innovation and bringing effective solutions to where they are needed most, this is the dawn of a new era.”

To read the full article, click here


Sneak Peak: Green House 10th Anniversary Trailer– coming to a community near you 2013!

Click here to view The Green House Project 10th Anniversary Trailer. Creating Real Home, Meaningful Lives and Empowered Staff– Coming to a Community Near You– 2013!!

Thank You CA State Sen. Alquist

A long life ought to entitle one to a dignified old age. We may not be able to cure diseases such as Alzheimer’s but we can offer our elders a life that is rich with kindness, patience, encouragement and appreciation. The creation of such a life is just what Green House homes were designed to do.

Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, who serves as the leader of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, recently examined this challenge in an op-ed that ran in the Sacramento Bee.

In Pomona, construction is starting on two modest homes that could revolutionize the way California cares for seniors who can no longer live independently. Residents will not experience the long sterile hallways, hospital-style rooms or the boredom and loneliness too often found in traditional nursing homes. Instead, these “Green House” homes – the first of their kind in California – will provide seniors with quality care and something just as important to their well-being: the feeling of being in a real home.

There is a world of difference between places that aspire to be “home-like” and those that attempt to make a real home for real flesh and blood, living and breathing human beings.

Much has been written about the “silver tsunami” of boomers now entering their retirement years and expected to live longer than previous generations. No state has as much at stake as California, which will see its number of seniors 85 and older triple in the next 30 years.

These trends are daunting, but the good news is that we know more than ever before about what it takes to provide the most vulnerable seniors with the care they need and the dignity they deserve.

Although conventional wisdom tells us that aging is a bad thing, the truth is that aging is a very good thing which, if approached correctly, will enrich the lives of people of all ages.

A decade ago, an idea like this would have been unimaginable on the basis of cost alone. But more than 100 Green House homes in 19 states have now proven otherwise. In fact, a major study published in the Seniors Housing and Care Journal concludes that Green House homes cost the same as traditional nursing homes to operate but deliver vastly better care and quality of life.

Thanks to leadership from state Sen. Elaine Alquist, D-Santa Clara, California recently took an important step by clarifying its regulatory requirements to ensure that rules designed for bigger institutions 30 years ago were not inadvertently preventing smaller Green House homes from being built. The project under way in Pomona is a direct result of the updated policy.

“Senator Elaine Alquist”— this is a name that will go down in California legislative history. While it is true that it took the energies and drive of many people to bring California’s first Green House homes into being, without Senator Alquist—- it never would have happened. With skill and tenacity she built support for this innovation and then translated that support into action. This work is the very essence of “good government.”

These first Green House homes will, indeed, change the world of long-term care in California. Elders living in California Green House homes may never know her name but they will all owe her a debt of gratitude. On behalf of those elders, I say, “Thank you Senator Alquist.”

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Where Love Matters: 18 Minute Video

This video takes you into four open and operating Green House homes around the United States. All of these homes are licensed as skilled nursing facilities, and uphold The Green House principle of creating Real Home: elders are able to remain in The Green House home regardless of their physical, cognitive status, or their ability to pay.

While the best way to understand The Green House model is to visit a home, watching this video, is a great first step. This model transforms long term care by changing the environment, philosophy and organizational structure. To date, the results show, that this radical transformation positively impacts the lives of those who live and work there, and has the potential to change aging as we know it.