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Care model thinks small, generates big buzz at EFA

April 2, 2009
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Of all the topics discussed at Environments for Aging this week (March 29-31), the Green House concept seemed to have created the most buzz. It seemed to be the “lunch table” topic of the conference. The Green House may very well be the beginning of a new era in senior care.

The Green House is a model of care that is simultaneously involved in changing the philosophy of care, the architecture of the built care environment, and the organizational structure of the care. Although the model can be placed in rural, suburban and urban settings, it is at its foundation focused on small residential-style dwellings where 5-12 residents live and where a nurse attends to all resident issues, ranging from health to laundry and daily meals. The design of the “facility” (or “home” rather) revolves around the building’s hearth—a central point of comfort for any traditional home. Each resident’s room must be close to the hearth and dining area. Natural light is also highly valued in the design.

With grant funding from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NCB Capital Impact is pursuing the rapid replication of The Green House model on a national level. Over the next five years, under the leadership of Robert Jenkens, NCB Capital Impact plans to develop Green House homes with 50 or more organizations throughout the country.

At EFA, Jenkins and Margaret Calkins, PhD, Ideas Consulting, presented winning designs from a recent Green House design charrette that sought to fully express the concept in rural, suburban and urban settings. The projects are expected to be published this year in a design manual.

Check out the winning projects here.

More info on the Green House.

Taking first place in the urban category of The Green House Design Charrette, this design by Rosemann & Associates and Mount Carmel Senior Living is an ideal example of resident room arrangement around the hearth, living room, and dining/kitchen area, which minimizes walking distance for all.

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