Wow of the week: Could rethinking traditional nursing home model improve senior health?

7:30 am by | 3 Comments

In an effort to move away from the traditional model of a nursing home, a nonprofit organization has developed an alternative — smaller scale housing for elderly residents. They’re referred to as Green Houses. The idea is that small homes of roughly 10 residents can improve social interaction and the quality of life and health of its residents. And that could reduce healthcare costs.

The concept of the Green House, as it’s called, was originally developed in 2003 by Dr. William H Thomas. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has thrown its backing behind the Green House Project, as has NCB Capital Impact. It runs the program and helps organizations that want to adopt the Green House model with technical assistance, training and pre-development loans. To date, there are 260 Green House homes in 32 states.

According to the director of the Green House project, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the small homes allow for less administrative costs. And because of the house size, residents can stay ambulatory with assistance from a walker, instead of requiring wheelchairs.


The program takes the approach that aging can also be a time of development and growth. It takes a holistic approach that’s intended to overcome some of things that frighten us about aging, namely loneliness, helplessness and boredom. Certified nursing assistants take their meals with residents. The close contact they have with residents makes it easier to spot potential problems earlier. The nursing assistants are backed up by clinical support teams that also include a nurse and a doctor.

According to its website, the Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rules and provisions for traditional nursing homes also apply to Green House homes.

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Stephanie Baum

By Stephanie Baum

Stephanie Baum is the East Coast Innovation Reporter for She enjoys covering healthcare startups across health IT, drug development and medical devices and innovations deployed to improve medical care. She graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania and has worked across radio, print and video. She's written for The Christian Science Monitor, Dow Jones & Co. and United Business Media.
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great post!


Traditionally, nursing homes have been run as a medicinal office, incorporating an unified nursing station with set solution and mealtimes. Some of these homes (be that as it may) are currently moving to an alternate model with littler neighborhoods and public ranges. In the event that this sort is accessible in your general vicinity, it might provide simpler feel.


Good morning: I am new to the group. I am a RN. Have been in nursing now for 33yrs. Areas include acute care setting on an orthopedic unit, skilled facility, school nursing, and home health.  I am looking for a careet change that I cam still use my nursing assessment skills.