Technology Partnerships Aimed at Taking Dementia Knowledge and Understanding to New Levels

Project ECHO and Embodied Labs Selected to Create First-of-Its-Kind ​​Dementia Care Initiative

Linthicum, MD (Aug. 26, 2019): The Green House Project (GHP) is proud to annouBest_Life_Logo_new.pngnce the launch of an initiative aimed at taking dementia knowledge and understanding to a new level of care innovation. GHP has joined forces with Embodied Labs, a virtual reality immersive technology platform that promotes better understanding and knowledge of dementia, and Project ECHO® (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), a guided-practice telehealth platform that amplifies capacity through case-based learning and access to subject matter experts.

The initiative, dubbed Best Life Impact, is the first of its kind in the field of aging services. In addition ECHO logo®[1].jpgto improving the lives of people living with dementia (PLWD), who are the focus of the case studies, Best Life Impact seeks to empower participants to be leaders in dementia care.

“The powerful combination of these disruptive innovations creates a synergistic transformation for the caregivers and PLWD alike,” said Susan Ryan, GHP senior director. “I have no doubt that Project ECHO and Embodied Labs—two proven models—will catapult education, knowledge, and empathy to new levels in memory care.”

Described as a “revolution in medical education and care delivery,” Project ECHO utilizes the Zoom platform for technology-enabled collaborative learning to connect specialists with multiple other healthcare professionals through simultaneous interactive videoconferencing.
“We are excited to be partnering with The Green House Project to help senior living professionals gain new knowledge, expertise, and ideas in their efforts to better care for individuals living with dementia,” said Sanjeev Arora, MD, Project ECHO founder. “The combined impact of the passion and commitment of those caring for people living with dementia with the ingenuity of the ECHO model will, we anticipate, drive extraordinary improvements in dementia care and knowledge in the field of aging services.”

Embodied Labs is an innovative technology company that uses virtual reality to help care partners spend a few minutes as an individual living with dementia, in their world. This virtual learning experiencehelps all Best Life participants approach individuals with more empathy and knowledge about dementia. “Embodied Labs is honored to be selected by The Green House Project to enhance its Best Life approach,” said Carrie Shaw, chief executive officer of Embodied Labs. “Our immersive training platform challenges stereotypes, helping those supporting people living dementia to provide better, more understanding care. We’re empowering the staff by giving them hands-on, personal experience using virtual reality.”

The following 11 senior living provider organizations will participate in Best Life Impact to create this powerful combination of care and knowledge: Ave Maria Home (Bartlett, Tenn.); Clark Lindsey Village (Urbana, Ill.); Eddy Village Green (Cohoes, N.Y.); Hover Senior Living Community (Longmont, Colo.); Jewish Home Family (Rockleigh, N.J.); John Knox Village-The Woodlands (Pompano Beach, Fla.); Leonard Florence Center for Living (Chelsea, Mass.); Methodist Senior Services (Tupelo, Miss.); Mt. San Antonio Gardens (Pomona, Calif.); Saint Elizabeth Home (East Greenwich, R.I.); and Village on the Isle (Venice, Fla.).

Integral to the initiative are three individuals, who will serve as the Best Life Impact subject matter experts: Anne Ellett, MSN, NP, GHP’s dementia specialist and author of the Best Life dementia care approach; Al Power, MD, noted geriatrician, author, and educator; and Michael Belleville, an individual living with dementia and patient advocate.

This effort is part of GHP’s Green House 2.0 initiative, which was launched earlier this year to leverage the organization’s 15 years of experience, wisdom, and evidence base by expanding its offerings to include consultancy services in cultural transformation; leading-edge dementia care; and more.

​GHP would like to thank the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and itsSenior Adviser for Program Development, Nancy Barrand, who connected GHP with Project ECHO, and thus set in motion this groundbreaking partnership.

About Project ECHO

Project ECHO is a movement to demonopolize knowledge and amplify the capacity to provide best practice care for underserved people all over the world. This low-cost, high-impact intervention is accomplished by linking expert inter-disciplinary specialist teams with multiple primary care clinicians simultaneously through teleECHOTM clinics, where experts mentor and share their expertise via case-based learning, enabling primary care clinicians to treat patients with complex conditions in their own communities.

About Embodied Labs

Embodied Labs, headquartered in Los Angeles, is the leading VR immersive learning platform for home care, senior living, hospice, medical and nursing schools, hospitals and employers interested in training HR departments to better support its caregiving employees. Working collaboratively with health care, medical experts and seasoned Hollywood filmmakers has led to Embodied Labs winning the AARP Innovation Labs Global Challenge, OpenIDEO Challenge and the XR Education Prize Challenge funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Media Contact:

Meg LaPorte
Director of Communications
(240) 676-0610

Press Releases

  • LINTHICUM HEIGHTS, MD., November 12, 2021 – The Green House Project (GHP) today announces the hire of Ann McLaughlin in the role of Project Coach. McLaughlin comes to GHP with a deep and unique perspective on the challenges facing long-term care reformers today – as well as their solutions. A licensed nursing home administrator with a master’s degree in healthcare administration from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, McLaughlin has worked both on the front lines of eldercare and as a researcher probing racial disparities in the long-term care system. “Everyone deserves to age with dignity,” McLaughlin said. “It is a personal goal to do everything I can to make that possible.” Prior to joining GHP, McLaughlin was a Health and Aging Policy Fellow in the office of Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, where she wrote legislation and advised the Congresswoman’s staff on key policy issues. In addition to her research while at the University of Minnesota, she gained real-world experience at several eldercare communities in Minnesota – including a position as an artist-in-residence at The Waters of Highland Park in St. Paul, where she gave harp performances and developed music and social programming for elders. At GHP, McLaughlin will support forward-thinking eldercare organizations as they develop new Green House communities and implement culture-change programs across the country. She will also provide insights into the structural and policy reforms that must occur to create truly transformative change in long-term care. “We’re delighted to have Ann and her incredible talents on the Green House team,” Susan Ryan, GHP’s senior director, said. “We’re at a key inflection point in nursing home reform after the COVID-19 tragedy, and Ann will play a vital role as we work to break down the barriers to new and empowering models of care across the country and the world.” McLaughlin holds a doctor of musical arts degree and a master of music degree from the University of Illinois; she also received a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of North Texas. “For years, I have known about The Green House Project, its excellent work, and the high standard it sets for quality of life for older adults,” McLaughlin said. “It is such an honor to join the team!” About The Green House Project Since 2003, The Green House Project has led a revolution in the way we provide eldercare services. With private rooms, warm communal areas, empowered care teams, and an emphasis on connecting with nature, Green House homes provide a vital alternative to institutional nursing facilities. GHP believes that elders, no matter their physical or cognitive challenges, deserve to live a meaningful life in a setting that doesn’t just feel like home – because it truly is home. Media Contact Alex Spanko, Director of Communications

  • Linthicum, Md. (June 23, 2020): The GREEN HOUSE® Project (GHP) is proud to announce a new initiative aimed at supporting COVID-19 best practices in long-term care. In partnership with Project ECHO® (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), a video tele-mentoring platform that spreads knowledge through case-based learning and real-time access to subject matter experts, the initiative will identify and share proven protocols and lessons learned that nursing home providers can utilize in the preparedness, management, and treatment of the novel coronavirus. The COVID-19 Best Practices in Long-Term Care initiative is launching on the heels of a recent finding by the Wall Street Journal that some 50,000 people in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have died as a result of the pandemic. GHP will convene long-term care experts, operators, and clinicians twice per month via Zoom to equip participants with the knowledge and answers they need to address the challenges they face as a result of the pandemic. Geriatrician, Author, and Educator, Al Power, MD, along with Jewish Home Family’s Director of Nursing, Eric Riguerra, RN, will lead other subject matter experts in presenting best practices and scenarios and offering feedback to participants around their own cases and questions. Some of the issues to be covered during the COVID-19 ECHO meetings are as follows: ·       Practices for testing and reporting to local and federal agencies; ·       Access to PPE; ·       Infection control procedures; ·       Isolation for COVID-positive cases; ·       Medication management; ·       End-of-life decisions amid COVID-19; ·       Communication strategies and family support; ·       Person-centered care, quality of life, and normalcy during social distancing; ·       Guidance and parameters for reopening; ·       Workforce resiliency and associated stress and trauma; and ·       Preparation for a possible second wave of coronavirus. Participation in the initiative is complimentary, thanks to the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The first meeting will convene on July 15 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern and every two weeks thereafter until Dec. 16, 2020. “We believe this initiative will spur impactful and timely changes that will mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on older adults, who are extremely vulnerable to this virus,” said Susan Ryan, senior director of The Green House Project. “There has never been such an imperative to address the systemic challenges and lack of resources facing long-term care that imperils the lives of so many.” Support for this initiative is provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.    About Project ECHO Project ECHO is a movement to demonopolize knowledge and amplify the capacity to provide best practice care for underserved people all over the world. This low-cost, high-impact intervention is accomplished by linking expert inter-disciplinary specialist teams with multiple primary care clinicians simultaneously through teleECHO™ clinics, where experts mentor and share their expertise via case-based learning, enabling primary care clinicians to treat patients with complex conditions in their own communities. The ECHO model™ is not ‘traditional telemedicine’ where the specialist assumes care of the patient, but instead where the clinician retains responsibility for managing the patient.  

  • LINTHICUM HEIGHTS, Md., August 10, 2021 – The Green House Project (GHP) wholeheartedly applauds the inclusion of a new small-home nursing facility demonstration program in the wider Nursing Home Improvement and Accountability Act. “We are at a critical point for nursing home reform in the United States,” said Susan Ryan, senior director of The Green House Project. “As the dark days of 2020 already begin to fade from our collective memory, we must translate the outrage over COVID-19 deaths in long-term care into action. Explicit government support for a complete overhaul of our nursing home infrastructure is an incredibly important first step toward creating the care landscape that America’s elders deserve.” GHP fully endorses the demonstration program provision contained within the bill, and our team sincerely hopes that it marks the first of many efforts – at both the federal and state levels – to encourage and incentivize the end of the institutional nursing home as we know it. “We urge Congress to pass this crucial support for new alternatives as soon as possible so that we can expand the vital work of true physical and cultural transformation in long-term care,” Ryan said. Since 2003, The Green House Project has seen the real benefits of abandoning outdated institutional nursing homes in favor of small-home campuses that feature private bedrooms and bathrooms, communal kitchen and dining areas, and plentiful outdoor space. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these features contributed to infection rates that were 50% lower at Green House facilities than traditional nursing homes, with a death rate that was about 30% of the nationwide nursing home total. But even before COVID-19 tragically exposed the severe shortcomings in our nation’s nursing home infrastructure, research demonstrated increased resident and worker satisfaction, improved health outcomes for elders, and substantially more time spent on direct caregiving tasks under the GHP model. GHP is incredibly proud of the results that our partners have achieved with the 359 Green House homes currently in operation across the country. But GHP is also painfully aware that our small-house revolution has only reached a tiny sliver of the long-term care population in America – a cohort that will only grow as the baby boomers continue to age. There are more than 15,000 nursing facilities in the country, most of them built in the 1960s and 1970s. Converting all of them to real, person-centered homes will take substantial investment – in terms of time, funding, and regulatory upgrades to ensure that elders remain at the center of every reform. One organization can’t do it alone, and we warmly welcome federal lawmakers’ support as we continue to build our coalition for change. “Should this bill become law, the entire Green House Project team stands ready and eager to help any person or organization interested in participating in the program,” Ryan said. “We won’t rest until every elder in America – regardless of income, race, ethnicity, or hometown – has a host of human-centered options for care in the setting of their choice, including a small-home campus.” Media Contact Alex Spanko Director of Communications 516-587-2097