Green House Blog

Nurses Organization of Veteran Affairs (NOVA)

Gerontological Nurse, Green House Guide and RN Supervisor, Ann Wagle, from the VA Illiana Green House homes in Danville, IL will present a poster on “The Role of Nurses in the Green House home” during the NOVA 2015 Annual Meeting this June in Washington D.C. The poster will outline the impact of the Green House model on Veterans, families and staff. It will also describe actions that support and propel cultural transformation within long-term care in the VA system.

In her poster proposal Ann described how Green House homes are currently serving Veterans across the United States and future plans for the Danville campus:

“VA Illiana was the first VA in the nation to adopt the Green House model, although at least five additional VA sites have either opened Green House homes or are under design/construction, including VA’s in Chicago, Milwaukee, Tomah, Tuscaloosa, and Lexington. At VA Illiana, two more Green House homes are currently under construction, and an additional two homes are in the design phase, resulting in a total of 60 beds within the total of 100 long-term care beds at VA Illiana. One of these new Green House homes will include Veterans with short-stay skilled care needs.”

This presentation will be an excellent compliment to the recent THRIVE research results on the role of the nurse in Green House homes that The Green House Project has been sharing with our Peer Network of adopters.


Veterans Service Representatives Welcomed by The Green House Project and Stadium Place

As policy makers discuss improvements in how health care is provided for our nation’s Veterans, the need for greater option for long-term services and supports is greater than ever.  The aging of the Veterans population will require a new vision.   Many of our Veterans require 24-7 care skilled nursing care.   In 2013, nearly 36,000 veterans resided in skilled nursing care facilities on a long-term basis.  Another 4,000 Veterans received skilled nursing care on a short-term basis.   In response to this growing need, Green House Homes are becoming increasingly available to Veterans.

The Green House Project was thrilled to host representatives from Veteran’s Service Organizations for a home visit at The Green House Residences at Stadium Place on July 14th.   Representatives from the Department of Veterans Affairs, VHA Central Office, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S., The American Legion and Disabled American Veterans came together to learn more about how The Green House model  can serve our veterans with an innovative alternative for long-term care.

A Green House home is a self-contained, skilled nursing home where autonomy and choice are honored, quality care is a priority and people have more satisfying and meaningful lives, work and relationships.  Ten to twelve veterans live in each home.

The people who live and work in a Green House home collaborate to create a flexible living environment where each resident enjoys choice and independence.

Green House homes provide all the same services of a traditional nursing home, delivering an exceptionally high quality of care while keeping the emphasis on the comfort and well-being of the Elder.

The daily operating cost for Green House homes are the same as traditional nursing homes.  And the quality of care improves health outcomes, yielding real savings on healthcare costs.

This summer the Tomah VA Medical Center in Tomah, Wisconsin will become the fourth VAMC to open Green House Homes.  Later this year, the Green House homes at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin will open.  Click here to learn more about The Green House Project for Veterans.

St. Martin's in the Pines honor Veterans and the grand opening of their third Green House home

 via Jennifer Ray:

St. Martin’s in the Pines hosted a celebration to honor Veterans and the grand opening of a third Cottage on November 11, 2012.

The Cottages represent a new direction in the care of elders requiring skilled nursing. Terry Rogers, St. Martin’s President and CEO, remarked, “It occurs to me that on this day, as we celebrate those who defend our freedom; who have given so much to protect our lives and the way we live, it’s fitting to also remember the way many Veterans and elders have been treated and cared for in the twilight of their lives has been less than honorable. The Cottages represent a new way forward, a revolution from institutional care to care in a home. Our hope is that one day, all elders who need assistance can receive care in a place they can call home, like The Cottages at St. Martin’s.”

Click here to read the full press release

Green House projects for Veteran's highlighted in GrantWatch Blog

In honor of Veteran’s Day, the Health Affairs GrantWatch Blog is highlighting those foundations that have supported programs to make life better for our nation’s heros. They pay tribute to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Funded Green House Project’s work with The U.S. Department ofVeteran’s Affairs.

“The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the U.S. Department of Defense are moving toward revolutionizing delivery of skilled-nursing care for aging veterans in three locations this autumn. How? The VA is offering vets the opportunity to live in a Green House home”

To read more about these astounding project that are creating meaningful lives for veterans, click here:

VA Illiana Health Care Campus Shares A Balloon Launch To Remember

“The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion…”

-President Abraham Lincoln in The Gettysburg Address, 1863

Abraham Lincoln’s speech is a reminder of the sacrifice so many have made for our freedom.  It certainly influenced Drusilla (Dru) Ford in her decision to work with veterans at the Freedom House on the VA Illiana Health Care (VAIHC) campus in Danville, Illinois.  Furthermore, serving veterans is a way for Dru to honor her father who fought in World War II.

Across the VAIHC campus, it is important that every veteran is honored and remembered for their service to this country.  When someone passes away, the American flag is draped across his or her bed and personal mementos are displayed in the room.  Family, friends and staff have time to reflect, grieve and celebrate with each another.  “When someone passes away” stated Dru, “it truly feels like I have lost a family member.” 

Building strong, intimate relationships with each veteran is one of the most rewarding aspects of her job as a Shahbaz.  In her own family, it is a ritual to launch balloons shortly after an individual passes away.  She presented this idea to both Green House homes and on July 4th, the first balloon launching ceremony commenced.  Veterans shared stories and sang God Bless America.  It was such a memorable experience that the veterans asked that this become a standing ritual in both Green House homes.

New Veterans Affairs Director supports more Green House homes for vets






“My motto is: ‘Put the veteran at the center of everything you do, and you won’t go wrong.’”

While that statement was made by Emma Metcalf, the new director at the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System in Danville, Illinois, it could easily be made by anyone involved with the Green House Project.  Put the elder at the center of everything you do—it’s the foundation of the Green House model.

In fact, Metcalf plans to continue the expansion of the Green House homes in Danville.  Two 10-bedroom homes have opened and three more have been approved.  Ground could be broken this fall.

“I’m in learning and listening mode,” says Metcalf.  “The staff knows their business.  My job is to provide leadership.”

Learn what else is being planned for the care of veterans and let us know what you think!