LINTHICUM HEIGHTS, MD., April 6, 2022 – The Green House Project (GHP) today voices its support and appreciation for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s in-depth recommendations for nursing home improvements – particularly its calls for developing small-home alternatives to traditional nursing facilities and investing heavily in the caregiving workforce.
For nearly two decades, The Green House Project has helped providers build and sustain small-home nursing communities that closely align with NASEM’s vision of real homes with private rooms and bathrooms, open kitchens, and readily accessible outdoor areas.
The NASEM report correctly identifies several barriers to small-home development in the United States, including a lack of incentives for operators to abandon the standard multi-bed model that Medicare and Medicaid continue to subsidize – as well as low per-day Medicaid rates that often discourage lenders from providing vital upfront capital to fund new construction and renovations.
“Elders receive substandard care in outdated, undignified settings because the federal government continues to pay for that care,” GHP senior director Susan Ryan said. “Nursing homes derive the majority of their income from Medicaid and Medicare. Congress and federal agencies have the power to change what these programs will and will not cover – and, in turn, transform nursing home care for the better.”
GHP further appreciates NASEM’s call for greater transparency and accountability for the nursing home industry at large. Such long-overdue measures are powerful tools for rebuilding the broken trust between long-term care providers and the public.
“We are not asking for free money with no strings attached and no record of where it goes,” Ryan said. “We are asking the government to redirect some of the billions it already spends on nursing home care to the improvements that really matter, with robust oversight to ensure the money benefits elders and staff.”
Finally, GHP applauds NASEM for highlighting the desperate need for new workforce development and compensation strategies, as well as their call for investment in novel staffing models that emphasize the vital role of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) within the interdisciplinary care team.
GHP has built its workforce structure around CNAs, giving them the respect and power to run day-to-day operations within each home – a concept that has led to nearly four times lower CNA turnover in Green House homes as compared to the national average in nursing facilities.
“Design alone cannot make a nursing community feel like home,” Ryan said. “It’s the people, properly compensated and empowered to do the job they feel called to perform, that truly make a difference in long-term care.”
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.
Alex Spanko, Director of Communications