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Health Check: The ‘Green House’ concept

There’s a new type of nursing home in Southern New England.

"The whole meaning of the “Green House” concept is for people to live and thrive in a nursing facility," said Steven Horowitz, who is the president and CEO of St. Elizabeth Community in East Greenwich. (WJAR)

There’s a new type of nursing home in Southern New England.

"The whole meaning of the 'Green House' concept is for people to live and thrive in a nursing facility," said Steven Horowitz, who is the president and CEO of St. Elizabeth Community in East Greenwich, where four of these homes are located.

The homes accommodate 12 seniors, or elders, as they refer to them.

"To me, it's not a facility,” said Kathie Giorgi. “It's not an institution. It's a home."

Giorgi's mother, 97-year-old Madeline DeClemente, has been living in one of the Green House homes since it opened in late spring.

"I love to see my mom interacting with other residents (and) seeing how they have become family," said Giorgi.

She’s also impressed with the certified nursing assistants, as she said they are more than health care workers.

They're called “Shahbaz,” meaning they are universal workers who are cross-trained.

"They’ve had numerous hours of training, like, over 200 hours of training in gerontology and bringing a meaningful life to the elders and teamwork building," said Colleen Abruzzese, an RN who oversees two of the homes. "Our Shahbaz do all the cooking (and) the cleaning, so they seem to take more pride in their environment and making it have a more ‘homey’ feel to it."

Each home features a fireplace and an outdoor space for cookouts and socializing. There's a laundry room, a beauty spa, as well as a dining table that fits all 12 residents and staff.

"You know, when people are at the table eating breakfast, lunch or dinner, that's where the ideas for the activities of the day come," said Horowitz.

The rooms are large and include a private bathroom. Each features an automatic lift system from bed to bath.

But there's also something you won't see

"No carts at all,” said Abruzzese. “Our medicine cabinets are in each room. And having the medicine cabinets in the elder's room also gives us more time in the room with the elders, which is nice instead of all your time at the med-cart."

For Gioirgi, it does a heart good to see her mother thrive” she said.

" I just love the feeling, the camaraderie you get when you walk in,” she said.

There are more than 200 Green House homes across the nation in 30 states.

Click here to learn more.

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