The Cottages 

long term care

The Cottages 

long term care

The Cottages is a community that provides long term, twenty-four hour skilled nursing care. It represents a transformation in the way senior care is provided. Partnering with The Green House® Project (GHP), a not-for-profit organization founded on the belief that everyone has the right to age with dignity, St. Martin’s offers long term care in The Cottages. 

Cottages in the snow

Aging with dignity. Isn’t this what you want for your aging loved one? St. Martin’s in the Pines was founded with the sole intent to give aging seniors a better place in which to live the last years of their lives. Keeping with the founding mission, St. Martin’s was the first to bring the first residential-style nursing home to the state of Alabama known as The Cottages at St. Martin’s, as a part of a national movement known as THE GREEN HOUSE® Project.

In a traditional nursing home, the notion is that elders who are frail are in a period of decline. In The Cottages we believe that frail elders are growing – not aging – that they can continue to learn, that they can continue to make decisions, that they can continue to participate in society and more importantly their own homes. 

Cottages in the snow

Meaningful Life

Rather than an institution with long hall ways, large dining rooms and big areas, The Cottages creates a small, intimate community for a group of 10 elders and their supporting staff. A radical departure from traditional skilled nursing homes, The Cottages alters facility size, interior design, staffing patterns and improves methods of delivering skilled professional services. Its primary purpose is to serve as a place where elders can receive assistance and support with activities of daily living as well as clinical care, but without the assistance and care becoming the focus of their existence. The Cottages is a place where anyone amongst us can still experience meaning. Days are highlighted with fun activities with the Life Enrichment team where active engagement is encouraged.      

A Real Home

Approaching The Cottages you’ll see a Home. Each Cottage has three floors. Each floor is a separate House for 10 elders. Each house is created with community living in mind. The environment includes outdoors space, a living room or hearth, open kitchen and dining area – one dining table where all the elders and staff eat together. All the bedrooms are private and each one has its own private bath. The Cottages continue to offer 24-hour skilled nursing care, including short-term rehabilitation and Alzheimer’s and dementia care and continues to accept those elders receiving Medicare and Medicaid. While adhering to all codes required for licensure, these “nursing homes” look and feel like a real home. 

Cottages in the snow

Empowered Staff

The physical transformation is only one element of the Green House model. Staff responsibilities are dramatically different from those in a conventional nursing home. The traditional Certified Nursing Assistant receives a new role of universal care worker called a “Shahbaz.” Each Shahbaz is given 120 hours of additional training, in ways to protect, sustain, and nurture the elders and to take on a broader array of responsibilities, including facilitating meaningful activities, light housekeeping and laundry. Each house is also served by a clinical support team of nurses, medical directors, social workers, physical therapists, and others. These professionals are not stationed within the houses, but visit according to a schedule, much like a home-health model. 

The staff remains consistent in each area so that familiarity become the catalyst for better caregiving, giving residents four times more contact when compared to traditional nursing homes. The direct care providers function within self-managed work teams to provide the day-to-day care for the elders and act as manager of the home. Direct care is provided at a 1 to 5 staff to resident ratio. 

The people who work and live in a Green House collaborate to create a daily routine that meets individual needs, much as they did in their own homes.  If they wish, people who live there can cook meals, prepare snacks and help with light housekeeping and laundry.  There is no institutional routine in terms of medical care, allowing residents to be more independent.  

The Benefits

Elders in Green House homes consistently report greater satisfaction with their quality of life, a sentiment echoed by their families and caregivers. Several national studies have substantiated these reports. The outcomes show positive changes in every measurable area of care delivery. The Cottages also have seen a lower staff turnover since opening in 2008. Reports of weight loss and depression are down among those living in The Cottages, while levels of mobility and social interaction have increased. 

Amenities & Services

  • Individually controlled heating and air conditioning
  • Private bath
  • Utilities, including cable (excluding telephone)
  • Emergency call system
  • Wireless emergency pendants available
  • 24-hour nursing staff
  • Three well-balanced meals daily, including a variety of snacks
  • Weekly housekeeping including furnished linens and towels
  • Personal laundry service
  • Medical transportation available on a fee-for-service basis
  • Staff chaplain and pastoral counseling services
  • Scheduled group transportation
  • Secured access-control doors
  • 24-hour security
  • A wide range of daily activities supervised by an experienced Activities Director

NYTimes.com Article About Green Homes

“At conventional nursing homes, aides have to hustle residents out of bed, help them dress, escort them to the dining room by whatever time breakfast is served, and then perhaps whisk them off for physical therapy. These facilities struggle to provide even a smidgen of personal autonomy. Here, physical therapists come to the Green House Homes. If they find a resident still asleep, they come back later.”

Span, Paula. “A Better Kind of Nursing Home. nytimes.com, 22 Dec 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/22/health/green-houses-nursing-homes.html

https://www.thegreenhouseproject.org/about/visionmission

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