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Green House (nursing home)

The Green House nursing home model is an innovative form of long term care for the elderly. It has been developed in response to the perception that elders in conventional "medical model" nursing homes are prone to develop feelings of loneliness, boredom and helplessness. Residents of conventional nursing homes often have a quality of life primarily focused on physical health issues; there is insufficient attention to developing a culture and physical environment that fosters emotional, intellectual and spiritual growth.

Green Houses de-institutionalize care and instead use small ten bed group homes for elders. Elders are given private rooms and a great deal of choice in their activities. Instead of the nursing station as a center of conventional nursing home unit, there is a kitchen, a living room and a fireplace. Green Houses make abundant use of plants and animals. Children are often invited to participate in activities. There is evidence that these homes significantly increase resident satisfaction, reduce the need for restraints and psychiatric medications. The concept was first proposed by William H. Thomas, M.D. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is granting a total of $10 million for seed funds to support the development of 50 such facilities in the United States. Generally the development cost is greater than a conventional nursing home, while ongoing operating costs are about the same.


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