What is a “Small House”?

small house skilled nursingWhat is a “Small House”?

If you are not familiar with the term “Small House” in the field of skilled nursing care, that’s not surprising. Small House nursing homes are somewhat new, and Providence built the first one in Illinois. Small Houses are a big idea because they are revolutionizing the traditional, institutional, nursing home model. What’s the difference?

Smaller Architecture

A Small House structure is designed like a home, not an institution. The design includes a large community room and open kitchen, surrounded by only 10 or 12 private bedrooms. The smaller space means the walking distance from bedroom to living room is short enough for most people to navigate without assistance, giving them greater independence.

Flexible Programming

Such increased independence leads to greater flexibility with programming. Because residents are no longer dependent on institutional schedules or staff availability, they can live, sleep, eat, and visit as they choose. Just as they would at home.

Universal Staffing

In fact, nurses are the only staff who have specialized roles to fill. Other staff are “universal” workers, specially trained to perform all the duties of the house except for nursing. For example, a caregiver in a Small House might help residents get dressed in the morning, then throw a load of laundry in, then empty the trash cans, and then lead a group discussion about the day’s menu.

Collaborative Decision-making

“Nothing about me without me” is the Small House motto, reinforcing the idea that no decision can be made about a resident’s care without input from the resident herself. Day-to-day, Small House residents are encouraged to participate in the life of the house to whatever extent they are able — helping with housekeeping, working in the garden, making decisions about outings, and more. Such involvement reinforces a sense of purpose and value while exercising people’s cognitive and motor skills. Meals are prepared in an open kitchen and served at a large table where staff, residents, and families eat and socialize together.

You can catch a glimpse of Small House living in this short video:

The Small House Revolution

By de-institutionalizing care, the Small House concept of skilled nursing is creating a healthcare future that people are excited about. And there are measurable health advantages. Studies show that people living in a Small House generally experience:

  • Higher quality of life
  • Better emotional well-being
  • Lower incidence of decline
  • Better clinical outcomes
  • Increased mobility
  • Greater social interaction
  • Renewed appetite
  • Fewer falls
  • Better management of chronic diseases
  • Reduced medication usage

Growing Interest

Providence Life Services is excited about this healthcare future as well. In addition to opening the first Small House in Illinois (on our Victorian Village campus in Homer Glen), we also have a Small House project in St. John, Indiana. As more and more people become aware of the Small House movement, we hope to be able to meet the growing demand.

Whether you need skilled nursing, rehab, or memory care, consider the Small House movement. Contact us today to find out more about the unique style of care available in our Small House nursing homes:

Park Place Health & Wellness Center

Victorian Village Health & Wellness Center