Thomas's RWJF audience included program officer David C. Colby, Ph.D., a member of what was then the foundation's Supportive Services Team.
The team's portfolio included long-term care, and Colby was on the lookout for promising new approaches that might—with a little financial boost from RWJF—blossom eventually into alternatives to the traditional nursing home. In Colby's words, he wanted to seed the field.
Colby saw promise in Thomas's concept but was under no illusions. Turning the concept into reality would not be easy, and any payoff was likely to be years away. Still, he considered it a risk worth taking and invited Thomas to apply for a grant to help get the Green House concept from idea to reality. Colby expected RWJF's investment to be limited in both dollars and duration.
RWJF Involvement in Long-Term Care
Although nursing home reform has not been a major focus of RWJF, RWJF over the years has funded many initiatives to improve the quality of long-term care for the elderly. These include:
- The Teaching Nursing Home Program, a 1982–1987 effort to improve both the quality of nursing home care and the clinical training of nurses by linking nursing schools with nursing homes. See also the Program Results on ID# 026434 for the findings of the evaluation.
- A 1992–1994 examination of cost and quality differences among four alternative staffing models for delivering primary care services in nursing homes (see Program Results on ID# 020039). The project was part of the national RWJF program Changes in Health Care Financing and Organization.
- A 1997–1999 study of state efforts to reallocate long-term care resources and expand home and community-based service for older adults (see Program Results on ID# 030172). The study was part of the national program Home Care Research Initiative.
- Coming Home: Affordable Assisted Living®, a national program funded by RWJF through June 2007 that provides technical assistance and loan funds to states to create affordable models of assisted living for low-income seniors. NCB Development Corporation (as of October 2006 called NCB Capital Impact) is the grantee. See also Program Results on Coming Home.
In 2003, as part of a new framework for RWJF grantmaking, the Supportive Services Team disbanded, and long-term care issues became the responsibility of a staff group created to focus on the nation's vulnerable populations, including older adults.