New York Times Opinion Piece Calls for More Green House Homes

In case you missed it: The New York Times on Sunday singled out the success of the Green House model in an opinion piece calling for a complete overhaul of the American nursing home.

Writing under a provocative headline — “Nobody Wants to Live in a Nursing Home. Something’s Got to Give” — Times editorial board member Michelle Cottle calls current facilities “creatures of the last century,” and runs down the many benefits of the Green House alternative:

“Research indicates clinical advantages to this care model, finding Green House residents less likely than residents in traditional facilities to require hospitalization, to wind up bedridden, to develop pressure ulcers or to need catheters. (Fewer hospitalizations have translated into lower Medicare costs.) Other studies show lower turnover among the staff and higher levels of satisfaction among aides, residents and residents’ families.”

Unlike other pointed criticisms of nursing homes, Cottle’s analysis emphasizes the continued need for some type of communal setting for seniors, observing that home care may not always be the solution to every elder’s individual challenges. But Cottle concludes that the hard work remains ahead of us, with Green House homes currently only serving a fraction of the elders who currently or will soon require a high level of care:

“The need for innovation and reform in the industry is glaring. As the pandemic drove home, the status quo is as undesirable as it is unsustainable. Something has got to give, for the sake of the millions of seniors who will continue to rely on these institutions.”