Coming in 2021, Maine Veterans’ Homes - Augusta will be completely redesigned and rebuilt in what’s known as the small house model. The new home will offer assisted living, long term care and memory care to Maine’s veterans and eligible family members.
According to Deb Fournier, chief operations officer of Maine Veterans’ Homes, the small house model is a new and innovative way of delivering care for the residents of a nursing center.
“The small house model that MVH is embracing for our veterans is really a unique opportunity. It will be the first of its kind in Maine for our veterans, and we are very excited for this opportunity,” said Fournier.
More About the Small House Nursing Home Model
The small house model is different from a traditional nursing home because it de-institutionalizes the approach to care, taking into consideration a resident’s preferences and routines and providing that care in a home-like setting.
In a traditional nursing home, you might find long hallways with semi-private rooms on each side, centralized bathrooms and kitchens, and specific areas residents can access.
In the small house model, residents live in private rooms with bathrooms in homes of 10-12 people each.
“In the household itself, we have spaces like you would see in your home - a living room, a den, a dining room - that they can go and interact with each other and their neighbors,” said Fournier.
Residents can spend their days as they wish, and staff members, who are as much a part of the small house model as the design, get to know them in a more personal setting.
New Updates for the MVH - Augusta Home
When the new home is complete, visitors to the campus will begin to spot the differences immediately.
For example, as visitors drive onto campus, they’ll see how the home looks like something they’d see in their own neighborhood. They’ll also see outdoor spaces like a fishing pond, courtyards, backyards and front yards.
When visitors enter the building from the main entrance, they’ll see what Fournier called “destination spaces.” She likened the new entranceway to a community Main Street, with a bank, theater, children’s playground, veteran’s club and chapel.
“As we designed our small house home for our residents, we kept in mind the importance of social connectedness to our veterans and maintaining that sense of community,” said Fournier. “We designed spaces with the intention that would promote visitor and family engagement and socialization.
“There are spaces where the veteran can go and bring their family members to enjoy things that are normal like seeing a movie or enjoying a game of pool. We also have a children’s play area so that grandchildren can come for a visit, socially engage and stay connected,” she added.
Benefits of the Small House Model of Care
“Studies have shown that the small house model of care improves clinical outcomes and quality of life for residents and staff who work there,” Fournier said.
Improved clinical outcomes like reduced falls and infections, improved sleep and better communication between residents and staff members are just a few of the benefits that have been shown to come from the small house model.
Fournier said the lessons the MVH team has learned in preparing for the small house model of care have already been implemented at some of the other homes.
“We’ve had the opportunity to learn how to deliver care and services in a very person-centered way. It’s exciting to take those learnings and transform them in our other facilities and the way we operate,” she said.
She noted the dining program at one home has seen changes already - decentralizing the kitchen, personalizing the menu and the choices to residents, and serving residents on their unit in a restaurant-style approach.
Finally, Fournier said she’s most excited about the fact that the small house model of care means residents will truly find a home there.
“What really excites me as a caregiver and nurse about this project is to be able to deliver care in a setting that is home. We know that people live longer, have a better quality of life and recover better when they’re in their home,” she said. “So to be able to completely transform care and deliver care in their home is really exciting for me.”
Learn More About Maine Veterans’ Homes
Maine Veterans’ Homes has served veterans and families in Maine for more than 30 years. We operate six nonprofit homes throughout the state and are completely independent of the VA.
To learn more about our approach to providing the best care for veterans, request your complimentary brochure today.