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A Green House? Meet the New Nursing Home

Posted By Sally Abrahms On August 11, 2013 @ 11:36 am In Take Care | Comments Disabled

When it comes to caring for a loved one [1], the Rolling Stones nailed it: You can’t always get what you want. You may want Mom, Dad or a spouse to be able to stay home, but it isn’t always possible. They may need a nursing home [2]. What you, hopefully, can do is to control what kind of place it will be. That is why I’m mentioning Green House homes [3]. They are a different kind of nursing home you should know about.

Rather than long corridors, a multitude of residents and roommates, central nursing stations and shared bathrooms, the Green House model looks and feels like a real home. There are just 10-12 people in each Green House, with all residents getting their own bedroom and bathroom. Bedrooms open out onto an open country kitchen, a dining room where everyone eats together around a wooden table or the cozy living room with a busy fireplace that looks like it could be in a private home. Certified nursing assistants cook all the food. Freshly baked cookies on the counter are de rigueur.

But most important, residents make all decisions they can – when they want to wake up, take a shower (at any hour) and even what they want to eat. There are no set visiting hours and families can join the group for a meal or hang out in the living room. Among the 16,100 U.S. nursing homes, [4] 150 follow the Green House model [5] and 150 more are in development.

Harvard Medical School-educated geriatrician William Thomas [6] conceived of the concept and built the country’s first Green House in Tupelo, Miss., in¬†2003. As of October, Florida will be the 25th state with Green House homes. Most are built as a cluster of single homes in rural or suburban areas that may be part of a health care campus. The country’s only high-rise Green House is outside Boston in Chelsea, Mass [7]. It looks more like a swanky New York City hotel than a nursing home, with 10 Green House homes that are two to a floor. Way more expensive right? No.¬†Typically 70% of Green House residents pay with Medicare and Medicaid [8], a similar number as those living in traditional nursing homes.

Another fascinating comparison: The Green House Project recently analyzed data [9] from a 2004-2009 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation [10] study involving 97 Green House residents and 158 from a standard nursing home. It found the rate of hospitalization per residents was more than 7% higher for those in the traditional nursing home. Over 12 months, there was a $1,300-$2,300 in Medicare and Medicaid savings for Green House vs. traditional home residents.

Check if there are Green House options in your area [11]. Or watch a video [12]from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation explaining the concept. For more information, consult the Green House Project [5]. Read other housing and caregiving stories by Sally Abrahms [13] and follow her on Twitter [14].

Article printed from AARP: http://blog.aarp.org

URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/08/11/sally-abrahms-green-house-is-new-nursing-home/

URLs in this post:

[1] caring for a loved one: http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving-resource-center/endoflifecare.html

[2] nursing home: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/best-nursing-homes/articles/2010/01/11/best-nursing-home-definitions

[3] Green House homes: http://www.sallyabrahms.com/articles/baby-boomers-housing/green-house-homes-a-model-for-aging-that-promotes-growth

[4] U.S. nursing homes,: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/nursingh.htm

[5] Green House model: http://thegreenhouseproject.org

[6] William Thomas: http://changingaging.org

[7] Chelsea, Mass: http://www.leonardflorencecenter.org/Our%20Communities/lfclsite/multimedia.html

[8] 70% of Green House residents pay with Medicare and Medicaid: http://www.boston.com/2013/06/21/housing/VO4KkbSUMv8JmcydfuuaHJ/story.html

[9] analyzed data: http://thegreenhouseproject.org/doc/9/cost-saving-summary.pdf

[10] Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: http://www.rwjf.org/

[11] Green House options in your area: http://www.ncbcapitalimpact.org/home/expert-technical-assistance/green-house/

[12] video : http://www.youtube.com/embed/DLZPNbXw8Cw?feature=player_embedded" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

[13] Sally Abrahms: http://www.sallyabrahms.com

[14] Twitter: https://twitter.com/sallyabrahms

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