The Green House: Made for this Moment

Over 290 Green House model long-term care homes exist in the United States and their focus is to deinstitutionalize, destigmatize and humanize care.

The model can be built as stand- alone small homes often 12 to a “home”, or a cottage model having two floors with a Green House model on each floor, or in a vertical building of over 200 residents with elevator access and smaller “homes” inside. There is a separate kitchen, living room, dining room, private or semi-private rooms and bathrooms. Resident rooms have a front door with a door bell and it looks welcoming. Meals are cooked in their “home”, there is consistent staffing who carry out cooking, cleaning and assistance with personal care and each “home” has access to the outdoors. The point is, the environment and life within the home is “homelike”.

When the pandemic hit, it became apparent that the small homelike aspect of this model, fewer staff entering the home, as well as staff having a consistent assignment, all helped to save lives. The advantage of smaller units of elders is that there are fewer infections and there is more ability to control exposure to infections. This is not to say that there were no COVID-19 cases in Green House homes but there were significantly fewer cases and deaths than those housed in institutional settings. Take a look at this short video: Green House: Made for this Moment – YouTube

The pandemic was a terrible tragedy for those living in long-term care homes and we have no way of knowing whether another pandemic will occur. The Green House model provides a safe home for its residents.  There are other innovative models of care such as the Eden Alternative, Hogewey Village and the Butterfly models. All promote safe “homelike “environments. Please do your part to bring transformative culture change to long-term care homes in Ontario. Write to your MPP or to your City Councillor, or write a letter to the editor, or any other action that you think will help to promote a quality, dignified life for our seniors living in long-term care homes.


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