The Chelsea Jewish Lifecare and the Urban Green House® Model
In 2010, the Chelsea Jewish Lifecare opened The Leonard Florence Center for Living, the first urban model Green House® skilled nursing residence in the country. The 90,000 square foot building sets the stage for a model of care far removed from traditional nursing homes in Massachusetts – and throughout the world. Currently, the Foundation is in the process of rolling out this revolutionary concept to its other skilled nursing facilities in both Chelsea and Peabody.
Utilizing a concept that hinges on revamping traditional nursing care by clustering nursing home residents into smaller domiciles of 10 to 12 individuals within cottage-like residences, the model allows assigned staff to specifically care for the residents within that particular Green House.
The Green House® model offers communities where adults needing long-term care can receive the support and assistance they require for optimal health and well-being. Each Green House home is designed to create a small, residential “home-like” environment.
First developed by Dr. William Thomas and drawing from the traditions of the Eden Alternative, the first Green House® facilities were built in the Midwest, where large expanses of flat land were in greater supply. The facilities were a drastic departure from the traditional design, operations and philosophy compared to its institutional counterparts. In effect, the Green House® model’s architecture focuses on three main tenets that emphasize a home-like feel:
A warm home is a welcoming place of comfort, safety and refuge. The interior materials, colors and furnishings project a sense of belonging for those living and working in the home. The elders’ private bedrooms allow ample sunlight and have easy access to a common hearth, with a living room, open kitchen and dining area.
Smart technology is used to create a comfortable and safe environment that fosters the well-being of elders and those who work with them. In essence, a green environment is one that supports growth through meaningful interactions with life-enhancing natural resources, such as plants, natural light and therapeutic outdoor space.
A green environment is one that supports growth through meaningful interactions with life-enhancing natural resources, such as plants, natural light and therapeutic outdoor spaces.
The Green House® models built in the Midwest served as the working templates to create the Leonard Florence Center for Living. As such, the Leonard Florence Center consists of 10 separate homes, each with its own kitchen, dining and living area; all are private rooms, complete with a private bath and shower. The first of its kind, the Leonard Florence Center’s urban Green House® shares the same goal as the original Green House® model: to lead by example the transformation and de-institutionalization of long-term care facilities into better, healthier and improved healthcare residences.