The Green House Model: A Blueprint for Change

Leonard Florence Center for Living outside Boston, Massachusetts

On November 24th, around 200 people registered for the webinar, The Green House Model: A Blueprint for Change. Susan Ryan, Senior Director of The Green House Project gave a dynamic presentation on the model and its positive impact on the lives of elders in the United States. The Green House model is “revolutionizing care and empowering lives’’ Susan said.

Here are just a few key comments that Susan shared about this emotion-based model of care:

  • During COVID-19, every Green House home fared much better in number of cases and less deaths than traditional homes. Smaller is better!
  • A meaningful life is about relationships, autonomy and control, purposeful engagements, honouring natural rhythms, and social connectedness.
  • Transformative culture change is all about deinstitutionalizing long-term care
  • We all want/need to be seen, heard and known as unique individuals
  • Ongoing learning is required by all for sustainability of any culture change.

Please listen and share this inspiring presentation.   Click on the link here.


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.


Another innovative model in long term care homes

Did you know ….

  • 46% of residents have demonstrated some level of aggression with the most common type being “resistance to care.”
  • Normal daily home activities and creative care that is individualized for each resident will maximize functioning and quality of life.

Blog cartoon

Here is another innovative model that was implemented (even though it hadn’t been done before) and it worked – The Green House Model – not the gardening kind…

 “THE GREEN HOUSE® Residences at Bartram Park in Florida offers Assisted Living to individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.  The Green House Project counts 242 licensed homes in 32 states to date, with 150 more in various stages of development.

We know the Ontario Ministry of Health will be funding 5000 new beds by 2021/22.  This is an excellent opportunity to inspire innovation

If you agree, please ask your MPP to urge the Ministry to dedicate funding for these new beds to organizations that will commit to an innovative environment such as The Green House or other models we have highlighted in previous posts. The same old Ontario model is not good enough.  For a list of all the Ontario MPPs and their contact information click here

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“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.  To change something, build a new model that makes an existing model obsolete.” R. Buckminster Fuller.  

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