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Putting the Home Into Nursing Homes

Around the country, a handful of new approaches are being tried to do away with the hospital model of nursing homes and replace it with care that gives meaning to residents' lives, according to an article in the July 16 issue of the Washington Post.

Some facilities are using plants, pets and regular interaction with children to enliven the lives of their frail elderly residents. Others have moved to resident-directed care. The pioneering homes are finding that they can offer the new services at roughly the same cost as traditional facilities. At one home, the average daily occupancy rate jumped 10 points to 98 percent after implementation of an approach called Eden Alternative.

However, so far fewer than 1 percent of nursing homes have embarked on these kinds of transformations, says Rosemarie Fagan, executive director of the Pioneer Network, a coalition of providers and family members established to help “reinvent” nursing homes. Still, Fagan is optimistic: People want this kind of change and will create it,” she predicts.

To read the Washington Post article, click here (payment required).

The Pioneer Network's Web site can be found at

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