New York Times reporter Laurie Tarkan recently visited The Green House Project homes in West Orange, NJ (Green House celebrated opening its 100th home at the time). Her new story highlights the impact of the model on the traditional nursing care industry and its ability to permanently transform long-term care.
The article, A Nursing Home Shrinks until it Feels like Home, shares how far we have come since the 1987 act. The positive reflections of research and antecdotal support demonstrate how The Green House model affects the quality of life and care for all stakeholders of the model. For example:
Erika Dickens, a certified nursing assistant, worked in the traditional nursing home at Green Hill for 20 years but recently was transferred to the new Green House.
“I used to feel like my hands were tied. I had to get the elders out of bed at a certain time, even if they didn’t want to,” she said. “Now if someone doesn’t want to get out of bed for breakfast one day, I’ll bring her a milkshake.”
The best way to learn about the impact of The Green House model, is to ask the elders:
Jane Larkin, 82, a retired home economics teacher who suffered a stroke in 2007…marveled at the differences between this residence and the traditional nursing home in which she’d once lived, “There’s more opportunity to be social here. We can get outdoors easily, and people like to visit more,” she said. “Sometimes, I give the girls advice when they’re cooking, like I’m their teacher. There was no opportunity to do that in the other place, because we were isolated in our rooms.”
Currently, there are 117 Green Houses across the United States, part of an effort to de-institutionalize elder care. The movement has its roots in the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, which declared that residents of long-term care have the right to be free from abuse or neglect.
Also, check out this video from the 100th home celebration in West Orange, NJ. During the celebration, Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA., president and CEO for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, talked about what makes these homes both unique, vital and cost effective: