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Since 2003, The Green House Project has seen the real benefits of abandoning outdated institutional nursing homes in favor of small-home campuses that feature private bedrooms and bathrooms, communal kitchen and dining areas, and plentiful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.”
Director of Communications