Green House Project gets center stage in Capitol Hill briefings

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Residents, family members and nursing home staff tend to be extremely satisfied with the type of long-term care provided within the structure of so-called "Green Houses," according to results of a study presented to members of Congress Monday in Washington, DC.

The first four Green Houses in the nation have been housing elders since May in Tupelo, MS. Conceived as part of a movement to change the culture of long-term care in American, Green Houses are designed to feel more like home than they typical nursing home, advocates say. The study, "Reinventing Long-Term Care: The Green House Project®," compared the Green Houses in Tupelo with a control group of two other traditional nursing homes.

Researchers led by Rosalie A. Kane, professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, found that  the use a social model of care and maximum staff empowerment to serve elders needing skilled nursing care resulted in "statistically significantly" favorable outcomes over traditional facilities.

"With the nation's nursing home stock deteriorating and the baby boom generation aging rapidly, we have to either rehabilitate or build many new traditional institutions or replace them with an alternative that deinstitutionalizes the frail elderly and truly celebrates elderhood," Green House Project Founder Dr. William Thomas said during a Capitol Hill briefing.