Coronavirus shows that seniors need better housing options | Opinion

Indeed, the nation has a model, the architects said. It’s called the Green House Project, a 17-year-old non-profit organization with 300 homes in 23 states, including Michigan. It hopes to open another 30 to 40 homes nationwide next year. Each Green House typically has 10 to 12 residents, who have their own apartment and bathroom, a shared dining area, and gardens or porches. There are usually two nursing assistants and a nurse for every 10 residents, which allows staff to actually get to know their residents. Many Green House programs, including Resthaven in Allegan County, accept Medicaid patients.

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  • “A small but growing group of nursing homes are already implementing these changes. Collectively called ‘household models,’ these nursing homes have generated enthusiasm among diverse stakeholders and long-term care experts. Because of its scale and consistency across homes, the Green House approach has been the most frequently studied household model.”

  • “Alternatives to traditional nursing homes for older adults who cannot remain in their own homes has prompted interest in smaller, community-style facilities such as the Green House model. Staff are used more flexibly in the Green House model, and work with small clusters of residents; the model’s success, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, has attracted interest as an alternative to traditional nursing homes.

  • “The Center for Innovation and its Green House Project is promoting government incentives that support construction of modern, person-directed facilities through targeted grants or Medicaid rate increases. Providers in Arkansas and soon Ohio, for instance, receive Medicaid rate add-ons for private room nursing care.”

  • “Some suggestions included increasing state investment in home care, incentivizing a transition toward fewer-occupant rooms and Green House-style facilities, standardizing the Medicaid reimbursement system with data-based adjustments over time, increasing audits and financial transparency requirements for nursing homes, and building workforce pipelines into the sector through scholarships and more flexible training programs.”