BREAKING NEWS — Provider Magazine’s cover story for May is an in-depth report on Dr. Bill’s GREEN HOUSE Project and the Culture Change movement in long term care. The title, “Culture Change Goes Main Stream,” sums it up. Here’s my favorite paragraph from Meg LaPorte’s outstanding ten-page article:
The homes, which are designed for the purpose of offering “privacy, autonomy, support, enjoyment, and a place to call home,” are a radical departure from traditional skilled nursing facilities and are considered to be the peak of culture change. [emphasis mine]
Follow the jump to continue reading the excerpt Going For The Green:
Going For The Green
One model of culture change that is gaining momentum at a fairly rapid rate is the Green House Project, a model that breaks the mold of institu¬tional care by creating small homes for six to 10 (and sometimes 12) “elders” who require skilled nursing or assisted living care.
The homes, which are designed for the purpose of offering “privacy, auton¬omy, support, enjoyment, and a place to call home,” are a radical departure from traditional skilled nursing facilities and are considered to be the peak of culture change.
Each elder lives in a private room, designed to receive high levels of sun¬light and easy access to all areas of the house, including the kitchen, laundry, outdoor garden, and patio.
According to the Green House Project Web site, the small size of a Green House home promotes freedom from the limitations of an institutional schedule. Meals are prepared in the open kitchen and served at a large dining table where staff, elders, and visitors enjoy pleasant dining.
NCB Capital Impact, a nonprofit community development organization that is pursuing the “rapid replication” of the Green House model through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, offers technical assistance and predevelopment loans to providers that are dedicated to developing and operating Green House homes.
When the first Green House homes were built in Tupelo, Miss., seven years ago, many observers were impressed but skeptical about how such a small, individualized, and expensive model could be sustainable.
Over the past few years, however, much of the skepticism has dissipated and been replaced with enthusiasm about the possibility that Green House homes can be replicated on a larger scale. As of March of this year, there were 79 Green House homes open in 14 states, and another 132 homes are either in development or under con¬struction in another 12 states.
Robert Jenkens, director of the Green House Project at NCB Capital Impact for the past five years, says that in the early days providers were build¬ing just two to three homes per site. Today, however, projects are much big¬ger, some with 16-home campuses.
What’s more, in just the past two months, Jenkens says, he has had a flurry of requests for more information about Green House homes from for-profit providers.
“I think what’s happened is that it’s moved from something that people wanted to work and were comfortable testing in a small way, to something people now understand and believe works, and they’re willing to do full transformations,” he says.
“I think it’s what we had hoped for. We broke through that nonprofit group into the for-profit, which had always been our hope.”