The Core Values of the Green House Project




Last week, I promised an outline of the core values of the Green House Project. There are three of them. Straight from the brochure, they are:

Meaningful Life

“Individual needs are met because each person is deeply known and valued as creative, resourceful and whole. Everyday tasks, such as personal care, bathing and mealtime, are seen as opportunities to support elder autonomy, decision making and meaningful engagement.”

Empowered Staff

“Direct-care staff functions within self-managed work teams to provide day-to-day care and act as managers of the home. They partner with nurses and other clinical team members and report to a Guide, who is responsible for providing the team with the support, accountability and resources necessary for success in their role. This model returns power to elders and those who are close to them.”

Real Home

“The physical environment of each Green House home is designed to transform the institutional nursing facility into a small, residential environment that is home to 10 to 12 elders. Each person who lives in a Green House home has a private bedroom and full bathroom with a shower. Elders share meals prepared in the full kitchen in the home, at a common table. The homes fit in the surrounding community.”

And that’s it. While the language used in expressing these values is important, the real challenge is putting them into practice and sustaining them on a day to day basis. In my current exploration of the Green House Model, I have heard of instances of Green House Homes “not working.” While this depends on upon one’s definition of “not working,” my guess is that it has something to with practical problems causing administrators and staff to stray from these core values.

We’ve already shared a good example of the Real Home core value in practice (see At Home With the Green House Project) . The only thing I would like to add is that the purpose behind this physical environment can be defeated by staff reverting to institutional-like habits and patterns of behavior (see An Institutional Mindset). You can build the house exactly right, but to sustain the culture and avoid “reverse creep” requires administrators and staff who are totally committed to the core values and philosophy of the Green House Model.

In my next post, I would like to take a closer look at the Empowered Staff core value and the people who ultimately make the model become reality: the caregiver – or in the Green House vernacular, the Shahbaz.

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