These facilities, part of a national movement to create less-institutionalized long-term care, stand out in a pandemic that has killed more than 61,000 nursing home residents since March. At Green House homes, the best-known nontraditional model, residents are five times as likely to be coronavirus-free as those who live in typical nursing homes — and 20 times as likely to have survived the pandemic.
For Harvard-trained doctor Bill Thomas, who specializes in geriatrics, the contrast is bittersweet.
He has spent two decades calling for the “abolition” of standard nursing homes in favor of the “Green House” model, which allows the elderly to live in groups of eight to 10 in settings that resemble homes rather than hospitals.
The model has been praised by academics and doctors, and seems far better suited than traditional facilities to stave off the spread of infection and isolation that has devastated the elderly in recent