Poydras Home’s Green House Project aims to destigmatize aging

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Architect’s rendering of the Green House Project (Eskew+Dumez+Ripple)

By Jeanne D’Arcy, Uptown Messenger

Poydras Home on Magazine Street is set to open the first phase of their Green House Project facility that will change the way care is provided to their elderly residents.

The concept, according to The Green House Project, is “humanizing care for all people through the creation of radically non-institutional eldercare environments …” So the living spaces are designed to look more like a home and less like an institution. 

The use of the word “green” in this context does not refer to sustainability, nor to the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification process. 

“Poydras Home will soon become the first certified Green House Project within the state of Louisiana,” Poydras Home CEO Erin Kolb said. “The Green House Project began as a national movement in dignified and destigmatized aging more than 17 years ago. This model of care is centered around increased resident choice within a small home environment.” 

Green House Project kitchen in April 2023 (Courtesy of Poydras Home)

When speaking to the large group of stakeholders who came to tour the new facilities, Kolb called it a “cultural transformation.” She went on to discuss the rigorous training of staff to implement this new approach to caring for the elderly. 

Green House living introduces the concept of the “Universal Worker” to Poydras Home, where a small team of Care Partners supports all the residents within their home. This strategy results in fewer employees, which also limits infection transmission. As a result Green Houses nationally reported dramatically fewer Covid-19 cases than in traditional nursing home settings. 

This has become especially key as the Baby Boomer generation has begun flooding the eldercare market, and their lifestyle expectations are different. They want personalized care in an environment that is as home-like as possible. 

The new Poydras Home facility, with a $23.5 million price tag, aims to provide just that. A hallmark of The Green House Project is the elimination of the institutional feel of traditional, long-hallway nursing facilities. Instead, care is provided in small groups, in family-style settings.

Green House dining area (Courtesy of Poydras Home)

Big changes include private accessible bathrooms for each room and secure medicine cabinets that eliminate the need for rolling nurses’ carts. The nurses have an office, rather than a station. And there’s even a fire pit outside for residents to enjoy with each other and their families. 

To provide care in this new way, Poydras Home selected the New Orleans’

architecture and design firm of Eskew+Dumez+Ripple and Donahue Favret Contractors to create the six distinct houses. The two- and three-story buildings are linked by a glass atrium. 

Local artist Casey Langteau created works that give the new spaces “a New Orleans feel.” And a large triptych by Carlos Ramirez hangs on each of the three levels of the glass atrium.

With the opening of these new buildings, Poydras Home is moving away from different levels of pricing for nursing care, but instead will offer a flat nursing rate. Residents age in place within their new home. As their needs change over time, they will not move to a different location on the campus. 

The current nursing residents at Poydras Home will transition to the new buildings to receive their nursing care this month. Poydras Home has been operating with a reduced census during the construction period to be able to accommodate new nursing residents throughout the summer.

Den area in Green House Project (Courtesy of Poydras Home)

They can house a total of 64 nursing residents and have not added nursing capacity with this project. They have merely redesigned their offerings for the same number of people.

As previously mentioned, each home has a smaller team of  “Care Partners,” who know every resident’s individual health needs and preferences and are trained to assist with all tasks within the home — cooking, housekeeping, and personal care. Thus the rigorous training of employees. 

Another big transformation of Poydras Home will be the development of a Center for Healthy Living in Phase Two of construction to begin in the summer of 2023.

The complete renovation of the Historic House will establish amenities that include a therapy gym, a yoga studio, a library, a meditative space, an expanded salon and spa, and a multipurpose space for programming and education. These will be available to all residents of the Poydras campus — the Independent Living residents, as well as Assisted Living and Nursing residents. 

Poydras Home was founded in 1817 for the female children of widows left destitute by New Orleans’ yellow fever outbreaks, and it was originally known as the Female Orphan Society.

Poydras Home

5354 Magazine Street

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