Quality home care is important, but the home itself can also make a difference in an individual’s quality of life.The Green House Project® is a growing model for long-term care that provides a way for people to have meaningful living experiences in unique home settings. “The philosophy and organizational model of the Green House, when combined with the layout of the home, is specifically designed to create an environment where person-centered care can flourish,” said Scott Brown, director of The Green House Project. “The goal is to eliminate anything that is reminiscent of an institution or institutional-type thinking. Rather than focus solely on efficiency of dispensing care, the aim at a Green House home is to create a life full of enjoyment, engagement and purpose.”
Founded by Dr. Bill Thomas and rooted in the philosophy of The Eden Alternative®, a non-profit organization that provides education and consultation for organizations across the continuum of care, the Green House Project literally builds a person-centered approach to care into each facility so that the people living there have input in their care, can choose their own schedules, choose what to eat daily, and more. Each Green House Project is a new take on the outdated nursing home model with smaller units designed to function more like small households. “There are currently 156 Green House homes operating in 26 states, and 145 under development,” said Mr. Brown. “When all the homes under development are operating, there will be Green House homes in a total of 32 states. Of the Green House homes currently under development, we expect another 15 to open by the end of the year.”Each home is able to house people of all abilities, disabilities and financial circumstances and meant to be a welcoming place of “comfort, safety, and refuge” for the 10 to 12 elders living there. The green is reflected in the sunlight that streams in the windows, living plants, and therapeutic outdoor spaces. “Green House homes work economically,” said Mr. Brown. “As part of the development process, we work with organizations to do Financial Feasibility Modeling to ensure that the economics work. Based on our experience over the last 10 years, we know that the daily operating costs of the Green House model are no more than the operating costs of a traditional nursing home. “
At the end of the day, the model is working as individual lives are enhanced by living in Green House homes. “I was visiting with a Green House adopter last week who talked about a woman who had been living in a traditional nursing home, and was unable to feed herself and was losing weight,” Mr. Brown shared. “Shortly after moving into her Green House home, she began to come to meals and feed herself, and her weight stabilized.” Mr. Brown said he also knows of a man who arrived at a “Green House home on hospice, and who recovered and is still going strong three years later.”In addition, families of loved ones who live in Green House homes become so passionate about the experience and impact that they continue to visit and volunteer even after their loved one has passed away. “I think that’s a powerful testament to the impact the Green House model has on the lives of the people who are touched by it,” he said.Learn more about the Green House Project and if there is a location near you at their website.
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