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

The Green House™ is a model of skilled long-term care designed to transform traditional skilled nursing facilities into homes providing meaning and growth for the people who live and work in them. The story of Mildred Adams illustrates this transformation.

Instead of a large facility with many elderly residents, Green House projects create homes for six to 10 residents. Each resident gets a private bedroom and bath opening off a central area for cooking, eating and gathering. Nursing assistants play a much broader role in the care of patients.

William H. Thomas, MD, creator of the concept, and Judith (Jude) Rabig, MA, RN, at the Center for Growing and Becoming in Sherburne, N.Y., promoted implementation of the Green House model through various communications strategies and provided technical assistance and other support to organizations interested in building Green Houses.


Key Results

  • With assistance from the project team, a long-term-care organization developed four pilot Green Houses in Tupelo, Miss.

  • The team reported that a total of 21 additional Green House projects in 18 states were in some stage of development, including five under construction.

  • The project laid the groundwork for a successor Green House replication program that since November 2005 has been working to spur the development of 50 or more Green House communities by the end of 2010. It is run by NCB Capital Impact, a nonprofit affiliate of the National Cooperative Bank.