Toni Davis is the director of Green Hill Retirement Community in New Jersey. Green Hill is one of two dozen other nursing home operators who is trying to reinvent the nursing home through implementing Green Houses.
The Green House Project is dedicated to giving the elderly a more home-like environment while still being in the care of nursing home staff.
At the Green Hill Retirement Community, 4 new Green Homes have been built behind the larger nursing home facility. The homes are designed to be just that, homes. 10 residents live in each home. The front door opens to a large living and dining area that attaches to an open kitchen. Ms. Davis said the open layout allows the staff to communicate with members while cooking meals. Private baths and bedrooms circle the large living area. The homes also boast front porches and back decks for residents to socialize on or simply relax.
Ms. Davis is determined to make the nursing home community a place where residents feel little reason to leave. She put in fish tanks, bird cages, and brings dogs in for pet therapy.
In traditional nursing homes, each staff employee has a specific job; cooking and laundry are two examples. Furthermore, nursing homes operate on a fairly tight schedule. Residents are woken up in the morning, fed, and bathed.
Two certified nurses assistants work in the homes and are not assigned to specific tasks. One licensed nurse does rounds between the homes throughout the day.
The assistants do pretty much everything in the home including cooking, cleaning, laundry, and bathing residents. This allows the residents to become familiar with the staff and also allows the residents more flexibility in their schedules. One staff member at Green Hill commented that if a resident does not feel like waking up for breakfast, she doesn't have to. Instead, the staff can bring her a milkshake in bed.
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