Green House Blog

Green House Represents at Pioneer Network Conference

The Green House Project showed up in a big way this year at the Pioneer Network annual conference in Denver, Colo., where senior leaders presented three breakout sessions and a tour of the local Green House homes was sold out.

Green House Senior Director Susan Ryan teamed up with Lisa Czolowski, CEO at Hover Community (which recently broke ground in Longmont, Colo.), and Jennifer Vecchi, principal at Vecchi & Associates, to present on transforming the looming workforce crisis into an opportunity for career enhancement. This subject was especially relevant in light of the shrinking number of qualified workers to fill healthcare positions.

Green House Project Guide, Claire Lucas shared her knowledge on The Green House Project’s success in utilizing Sages—volunteers who act as coaches and advisors for Shahbazim. As leaders across the country grapple with staff retention, Lucas suggested that this model of using volunteers to support staff transcends the Green House model and can be utilized successfully in any healthcare organization.

Debbie Wiegand and Rob Simonetti, design director at SWBR, a design and architecture firm, spoke about the benefits of small-house architecture and design, sharing 15 years of experience.

In addition, Pioneer Network attendees participated in an onsite visit to the Green House Homes at Mirasol in Loveland, Colo. The sold-out tour gave attendees the opportunity to gain firsthand experience in how Green House homes can make a difference in the lives of its elders and staff.

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>>

 

Innovation is thriving in Upstate New York

Rob Simonetti has worked with multiple Green House organizations to create real homes where where elders live meaningful lives.  In this article, he highlights the innovation found in upstate NY, and The Green House model as a catalyst for significant social change.  

robSenior Housing providers are leaving industry standards behind to forge a culture of person centered care unseen in other areas of the US.
by Robert Simonetti, AIA, Design Director at SWBR Architects, 585-232-8300, rsimonetti@swbr.com

Call it a hot bed of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit; Upstate New York senior care providers are establishing new standards and models of care well ahead of many other communities. Care providers are ensuring all New Yorkers a very bright future as the industry comes to terms with an antiquated system of institutional care.

Senior care providers from Albany to Buffalo are breaking new ground and setting standards for the remainder of the nation to follow. As early as 1999 Fairport Baptist Home was one of the first adopters of the household model of skilled nursing care and quickly became a precedent and resource for other nursing homes seeking to transform their environments for care. The Eddy Village Green at Cohoes was the first adopter in New York of the Green House model. With sixteen homes of 12 elders each The Eddy has become a training center for other Green House adopters nationally.

In 2007 St. John’s Home embarked on a project to bring The Green House model of care to twenty of their Skilled Nursing elders. When St. John’s approached the NYS Department of Health, the state challenged St. John’s to not just build Green House homes, but to build them away from their existing campus in the City of Rochester. St. John’s accepted the challenge and in February of 2012 opened two Green House homes in Penfield, the first in the nation to build off campus in a new residential town home community. The homes which blend right in with their st. johns exteriorsurroundings have become some of the favorites of The Green House Project Senior Director Susan Frazier. “The difference between these homes and other Green House homes is palpable.” says Frazier. Operated on the concepts of person centered care and an empowered work force, the homes have achieved a 5 Star rating, the highest possible in the industry.

The private sector providers are not the only ones being innovative in Upstate; the Department of Veterans Affairs has adopted a new model for the veterans they serve. In Canandaigua plans are complete for ten skilled cottages based on the VA’s new Community Living Center principles. Since construction in the 1930’s veterans residing on campus have lived in very institutional H shaped buildings with double loaded corridors, small double, triple and quad occupancy rooms. The cottages are planned entirely as fully accessible one story homes with single occupancy rooms, private baths, safe outdoor courtyards, strong connections to the outdoors, and beautiful dining, kitchen, and living rooms. While being review in Washington, VAMC Central Office Architect Dan Colagrande noted that this new campus design “should become a national standard for our other VA campuses”.

With such excellence being set as a standard, other upstate providers are following suite to provide elders the best possible environments of care. In Scotia, Baptist Health has sixteen new small homes under construction. In Cicero, Loretto has just opened twelve new homes offering skilled nursing care. These homes and the neighborhood are modeled completely after a true residential neighborhood. The Rochester Presbyterian Home is starting construction on four new Memory Care Assisted Living Small homes in Perinton to compliment four they are operating in Chili. And in Brighton, the Jewish Home is embarking on an ambitious plan to build fourteen certified Green House homes to replace their aging legacy high-rise skilled nursing building.

Why Upstate New York? What’s behind our providers leading the industry? Upstate NY has historically been a leader in the Culture Change movement. Rochester is where the Pioneer Network was founded. A small group of prominent professionals in long-term care formed Pioneer Network in 1997 to advocate for person-directed care. The Network has grown significantly and is now a national resource headquartered in Chicago.

While working in an Upstate nursing home Dr. Bill Thomas founded The Eden Alternative; an international, non-profit organization dedicated to creating quality of life for Elders and their care partners. Recognizing three plights of the elderly in institutional nursing homes, Boredom, Loneliness, and Helplessness, Thomas sought to improve the well- being of Elders and their care partners by transforming the communities in which they live and work. Thomas, residing in Ithaca, has become an internationally recognized leader in the culture change movement and The Eden Alternative is headquartered in Rochester.

The legacy of innovation and advancement in the areas of senior care is growing in Upstate New York. Our providers, physicians, and educators are leaders and valuable resources to this rapidly changing industry. The St. John’s Green House homes have hosted visitors from around the country and as far as Iceland and New Zealand. The staff and administrator of the homes have become ambassadors of the culture change movement, encouraging, motivating, and educating others on the benefits of committing deeply to the ideals of person centered care and the Green House model.

The environments being developed here in Upstate are exemplary and promise each of us a bright future as we consider care options for our grandparents, our parents, and ourselves. Rest assured New Yorkers, when you decide to seek care, you will not find yesterday’s nursing home, rather you will find a true home filled with opportunities, committed staff, and an enlightened value of elderhood.

Environments for Aging, Impact of Community based Green House homes

Green House Chief Operating Officer, Susan Frazier, joins SWBR architect, Rob Simonetti, to present, “A Community-based Green House Approach—Development Goals, Opportunities, and Outcomes” at the upcoming Environments for Aging conference in New Orleans on Monday, April 8 | 9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m (we are exhibiting: BOOTH 103)


This seminar will explore the unique development opportunities available to providers and developers collaborating to provide healthcare via a decentralized community based approach. Presenters will explore the objectives of (re)integrating elders into their hometown communities in lieu of a centralized healthcare campus.


Participants will consider opportunities to leverage the strength and skills of local developers in this effort. Using the nations’ first Community-based Green House project as a case study, attendees will examine common goals of the provider and developer and will learn the potential marketing, cost, and approval benefits associated with pairing a healthcare occupancy with a small scale residential development.