As the COVID-19 death toll continues to rise within nursing homes across the nation, many experts have been contemplating ways to better house the country’s most fragile senior population, according to a Huffington Post article Friday.

The article noted that one potential solution may be building smaller facilities, as the spread of infection is greater in bigger ones. These may include more facilities following the Green House Project, a long-term care concept originally developed in 2003. Each Green House has no more than 10 to 12 residents, each of whom has an apartment and bathroom while sharing a common dining area. With two nursing assistants and a nurse for every 10 residents, the Green House concept allows the staff to develop more lasting relationships with residents. 

Over the past 17 years, the Green House has expanded to a network of 300 homes in 32 states and is helping open 30 to 40 more homes nationwide by next year, the article noted. A survey last week of 266 Green Houses found only four COVID-19 cases and no deaths.

“Hopefully we will seize this as the moment that caused us to have that conversation, because until now long-term care has gotten the crumbs on the healthcare plate,” said Steve McAlilly, CEO of Methodist Senior Services in Tupelo, MS, who launched the first Green House in 2003.

Editor’s Note: This article appeared in the McKnight’s Business Daily, a free daily newsletter that is a joint effort of McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. For subscription information, visit this page.