Green House Blog

Veteran's Day 2014, A Letter to the Editor

Below is a letter to the editor that Ann Wagle, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, Gerontological Nurse–BC , the administrator/guide, for The Green
House Homes at VA Illiana Health Care System, Danville wrote for National Nursing Home Week.  In this letter, she shares the power of The Green House model and the value that it holds for veterans.  To learn more about how The Green House Project serves Veterans, visit:

Better Care for Veterans, by Ann Wagle

originally published in The Commercial-News-Danville, IL, May 11, 2014

In recognition of National Nursing Home Week, May 11-17, 2014, we at VA Illiana Health Care
Systems celebrate the person-centered care movement that is transforming the delivery of care in
long term and post-acute skilled nursing care centers around the country. In the spirit of
compassion, kindness, harmony in caring, and respect for those living and working in skilled nursing
centers, we bring to your attention The Green House Project.

The Green House model is rooted in a philosophy of person-directed, relationship-based care.
Based on the three core values of Real home, Meaningful Life, and Empowered Staff, the Green
House model is now operating in 32 states. Individual houses, designed for 10-12 elders, foster the
same feeling and experience you get from living in a real home. The comfort of private rooms, each
with its own private bathroom, is combined with the family-like atmosphere of open common

The model embraces elderhood as an opportunity for continued growth and development and seeks
to create the opportunity for elders to experience continued meaning in their lives, while maintaining
the autonomy and choice they would experience in their own homes. The innovative organizational
structure in the Green House model is based upon the conviction that we need a new framework
around which to organize the experience of those who protect, sustain, and nurture our elders.
Cross-training of certified nursing assistants as universal workers creates an opportunity for the
maximum resources to be placed closest to the elders. A highly skilled team of clinicians provide the
necessary support and services for the elders to maintain their highest level of function, without
centering their lives around medical treatment.

The Green House model has been shown to deliver significant improvement in care and in elder,
family and staff satisfaction. As the nation approaches the impending “age wave”, the Green House
model and small home nursing homes are the future of elder care.

The first Green House home in the VA System opened in Danville at VA Illiana in December 2011.
Two Green House homes, Freedom and Liberty, opened at that time, and two more homes, Valor
and Honor, are currently under construction. Each Green House home at VA Illiana provides
private rooms and bathrooms for 10 Veterans through a partnership with our VA Network in Ann
Arbor, Mich., and our VA Central Office in Washington, D.C. Plans include an additional two
homes and a community center at VA Illiana.In 2012, VA Illiana received national recognition for their planning and implementation of the
Green House model through a federal award by the Under Secretary of Health for Innovation in
Long Term Care.

National Nursing Home Week is the perfect opportunity to celebrate long-term and post-acute
skilled nursing care centers and the people who care for our elders and veterans nationwide. We join
in that celebration as we bring the exciting new Green House model of care to VA Illiana in

Ann Wagle, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, Gerontological Nurse–BC, is administrator/guide, for The Green
House Homes at VA Illiana Health Care System, Danville.

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