Mildred Adams

"Green Houses" Provide a Small Group Setting Alternative to Nursing Homes - and a Positive Effect on Residents' Quality of Life

Dates of Project: January 2002 to January 2006

Field of Work: Alternatives to nursing homes for long-term care.

Synopsis of the Work: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation helped promote the implementation of the Green House™, an alternative to traditional nursing homes. The Green House model is designed to transform traditional skilled nursing facilities into homes providing meaning and growth for the people who live and work in them. Six to 10 residents live in small homes with private bedrooms and bathrooms opening off a central area for cooking, eating, and gathering. Nursing assistants play a broader role in the care of patients than in a traditional facility.

Story Told: Mildred Adams moved into a Green House in Tupelo, Miss., in the spring of 2003. In her previous large, long-term care facility, she seldom spoke, was disengaged, and had stopped feeding herself. Once in the Green House, she started speaking, interacting with others, and feeding herself again. "That's the difference in a Green House. People are coming there to live, not to die," said Steve McAlilly, president of Mississippi Methodist Senior Services, who developed a pilot Green House in Tupelo with the help of this project.