I finally visit a Green House — and it blows my mind! (McKnight’s LTC News)

Posted by Dr. El - March 20, 2014 - Inspiration, Something Good About Nursing Homes - No Comments

Here’s my latest article on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News:

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I finally visit a Green House (and it blows my mind!)

In my last post, I discussed culture change and its positive impact on the mental health of the residents, particularly at Eden Alternative facilities. I recently also had the opportunity to tour a Green House, which I’d heard about but had never seen. While Eden Alternative homes change the culture of care within existing facilities, The Green House Project creates the “ideal” setting from the ground up.

The template of a Green House is a small building that is home to 10 to 12 residents, or “elders,” and two caregiving “Shahbaz,” which is the plural of Shahbazim. A Shahbazim is an aide trained to do almost everything that needs to be done within the house – providing care for the elders, laundering the clothes and bedding, performing light housekeeping, planning meals, cooking, serving the food, engaging the elders in activities, etc.

The house itself is designed to be more like a home, with private rooms off a large common area that includes a living room, dining area and kitchen.

I found this model turned everything I’d known about nursing homes upside down.

Green Hill visit

The first thing I noticed when I pulled up to Green Hill in West Orange, NJ, aside from the impressive entrance to this former hotel, was that there were parking spots reserved for visitors. By contrast, most of the nursing homes I’ve encountered have reserved spaces for upper level staff. This easily replicable idea offers a person-centered approach even before guests enter the facility.

Green Hill has four Green Houses in addition to its other levels of care. Ten elders reside in each of these small buildings in the back of the campus.

Walking into the Green House was very much like entering someone’s home. As I came through the entryway, there was a small, bright room on my left where I later interviewed one of the elders. On my right was a large, open kitchen. A computer monitor was discreetly tucked in the corner next to a glass cake stand holding a freshly baked cake.

For the entire article, visit:

I finally visit a Green House (and it blows my mind!)

For more on The Green House Project, visit their website.

Green Hill dining area and kitchen

Green Hill dining area and kitchen