Nursing home more like home, not boot camp

Nov. 1, 2011 at 7:57 PM

WEST ORANGE, N.J., Nov. 1 (UPI) -- A couple of dozen of U.S. nursing home operators say they replacing institutional buildings with more home-like settings, with a great room and open kitchen.

Toni Davis, director of Green Hill Retirement Community, a nursing home and assisted living facility in West Orange, N.J., added four small Arts and Crafts-style houses that care for 10 seniors in separate bedrooms surrounding an open area with upholstered chairs, a large dining room table and an open kitchen that allows caregivers to talk to residents as they prepare food, The New York Times reported.

The front of the house has a porch and the back has a deck with tables, allowing residents to go outside, Davis said. There are no corridors, no nursing stations and no medicine carts, and trays of food are not delivered to the rooms -- everyone eats together, Davis said.

What's called a de-institutionalized institution is a part of "new thinking" that the elderly might not thrive under a regimen of rigid "wake, meal, bath, exercise, meal, etc." more suitable for army boot camp and geared more for the staff schedules than the residents.

Davis said the new model costs no more money than traditional nursing homes, because there are fewer supervisory positions and training certified nurse assistants take on more responsibility for patient care.

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