National Public Radio Features the Green House Project
National Public Radio’s All Things Considered ran a story yesterday on the Green House Project, which is linked here. The story showcases the Green House homes in Baltimore Maryland, but Green House homes share many of the same characteristics.
All have 10 to 12 private bedrooms with private bathrooms. All have a kitchen where the meals are cooked, fresh and hot. The Green House philosophy emphasizes teamwork and respect among all staff, and care that focuses on the personal needs and preferences of the elders. The houses are run by versatile workers: certified nurses aides who have been trained in culinary preparation and home maintenance.
White Oak Cottages are part of the Green House Project. They have been slightly adapted to address the specific needs of those with dementia by including circular pathways for wanderers, an interior design devoid of busy patterns that tend to confuse people with dementia, and artwork that serves to gently cue residents as to where they are in the home.
While most Green House homes are licensed as nursing homes, some, like White Oaks, are assisted living residences. The residents at White Oak have a primary diagnosis of dementia and need skilled nursing care infrequently, if at all. The nurses provide medication management and can pick up signs of health problems early. The residents at White Oak benefit, just as the elders in Baltimore do, from flexible scheduling, an opportunity for communal meals and conversation, and recognition by the staff of the uniqueness of each person in the home.
Whether the Green House model is applied to skilled nursing or assisted living, it is a large step forward in quality of life for those who need long term care.