Client Feedback

The following feedback and comments were received from a variety of Hearthstone Institute clients after training and implementation. In most cases, the names of the individuals providing the feedback have been removed to respect their privacy.

What Our Partners Are Saying About…

The Benefits of Our Signature “Embedding” Process

The embedding allows staff to have clearer understanding of set guidelines and principles regarding their behavior/conduct when interacting with residents, as opposed to beforehand, when guidelines/principles were not clear.
-Director of Social Services at CCRC
The embedding has made staff want to come up with solutions. It gave them tools to be able to come up with solutions for people who in the past would have just been challenging and it would not have been solution driven.
-Chief Health Officer
The embedding helped guide us through the integration of the new processes and getting us through the beginning weeks of adjustment
-Project Manager at Retirement community
The embedding—to have someone actually come here in person and show us how to put the parallel programming in place—has made the biggest impact!
-Director of Social Services at CCRC
The embedding is what sets this program apart, what makes it work. Sue’s vast experience enables her to help people really take the principles and translate them into real-life, real-time situations.
-CEO of Regional Assisted Living Chain

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What Our Partners Are Saying About…

How the Training Serves as a Market Differentiator

Because of the I’m Still Here® approach, the level of programming in this facility is so much more sophisticated than other facilities’. It feels like adult programming rather than just doing children’s activities with adults. I am always surprised at the level of participation and abilities from the significantly impaired residents and how much meaning they take away from the programs.
Like many others in the profession, we realized aged care going towards high care and that we were getting a lot of people with dementia through our door. We needed to find a way of operating around this but also a way to keep providing the very best care for our residents. We gathered a research team to investigate dementia solutions around the world and it just kept going back to Boston and Hearthstone. What they were doing was far more effective than anything else we could find and it’s also a non-pharmacological method which really made sense to us.
WOW! It’s transformational!
A geriatric care manager specializing in AD pulled me aside and said ‘oh my gosh, a noticeable, phenomenal, difference. I saw life!’
-Executive Director
Wow…. The difference is phenomenal… There is life back there!
-Healthcare professional
During tours, mentioning we use the I’m Still Here® programming and training definitely sets us apart and works to our benefit.
This training program has so many aspects that make it such a differentiator from anything else out there. It is so intensive and comprehensive.
-Project Manager at Retirement Community
I witnessed something today that I’ve been dreaming about for years. Hearthstone’s programming will truly put us at the head of the pack and make us a top provider of memory care.
-Staff Member

What Our Partners Are Saying About…

How the Training Positively Impacts Staff

The resident assistants were absolutely glowing – they seem to have more confidence. I think they enjoy all the extra attention and the learning opportunity we are providing. When I walked in, residents were engaged in Category Sorts and other fun activities. The Staff are remembering to pause and slow down, they are offering choices, calling residents by name.
-Program Coordinator
Staff say that work is easier, care is easier, and they are having fun.
-Program Director
Our job is more fun now; I enjoy sitting down and spending quality time with residents.
-Resident Assistant
I see everyone on our team interacting with our residents in a positive way—housekeepers, maintenance staff, etc. There is real caring and compassion. This speaks a lot to the quality of training. The staff has more patience and takes time to get to know the residents. When someone is having a tough time, no one is saying it’s the CNAs’ job, rather everyone is in the mix working to create a positive experience.
Including everyone in the training made sure we were all on the same page philosophically; it was important for management, not just the direct care staff.
It’s motivating because, in their job, care partners are doing more than just ADLs. They’re getting to know their residents in a different way than just by giving them baths and taking care of their physical needs. They see how residents associate them not just with the ADL part of their jobs but also with other things, and for the most part, I think that’s a new role for our care partners. I think that it is very motivating for them to know that they have skills that go beyond just the ADL part.
Our caregivers are better at problem solving on their own rather than bringing challenges to the management team. They are more confident and seem more inclined to share their success stories with one another and support each other.
Our caregivers are more patient with the residents. They have a better understanding that caring means more than just meeting their basic needs—food, personal care, etc.
-Staff Member
Our staff says that because they are involved in this program they have seen some of the best days that they’ve ever worked.
-Staff Member

What Our Partners Are Saying About…

How the Training Helps Staff Engage Residents Who Are “Unreachable”

People are engaged and really drawn out of their rooms or out of their shells.
I can think of several residents who were very withdrawn when they first came and wanted to stay in their rooms all the time. Now they’re coming out to join in activities! We really emphasize the assets of people with dementia and the things they can do; I think that is a different approach than many training programs.
We have miracles happening every day here, thanks to I’m Still Here®.
-Resident Assistant
We had a gentleman who was a woodworker living in our memory care residence. As his dementia progressed, he would do nothing all day. Using the skills we learned in the I’m Still Here® training program, we got him doing some activities using wood. When his son came to visit, his eyes filled up with tears and he said, ‘That was like seeing my old dad.’
-Chief Health Officer at CCRC
As a result of the training we have seen non-verbal residents become verbal and engaged. We have also seen an increase in participation in activities — residents who used to stay in their room come out more often and participate.
-Staff Member

What Our Partners Are Saying About…

How the Training Improves Residents’ Quality of Life

Incorporating I’m Still Here® has improved our engagement program significantly. The quality of life has certainly improved because of Hearthstone.
When [a resident’s son] visited with his mom during the week, he usually found her with a bunch of energy walking all around the community. On that evening, she told him that she was kept busy all day, and was tired from everything that she had done. Her son was thrilled and was happy to hear that his mom may finally get a good night sleep, as she is often a resident who is up frequently and wandering. I am happy to report that I have not been given a report that she is up at night!
-Told to a staff member by a Resident’s son
Meal times are relaxed, pleasant, like dining in a restaurant now!
-Private duty assistant
I really do see a difference and an empowerment the residents have now that I never saw before.
The I’m Still Here® training has improved our residents’ quality of life and allowed us to decrease medications, especially psychoactive medications. It was a complete change here. Instead of ‘medicate before behavior,’ now it’s ‘let’s try to prevent the behavior and not medicate.’
Overall, our residents seem calmer, less agitated and more engaged. Residents who used to have frequent issues are now more engaged in activities, and we find that the psychiatrist is not needed as often.
The residents really enjoyed the dining experience. “Isn’t this lovely!” If we keep this up, I believe we might see major changes in those who are underweight, and changes in behavior!
OMG… Woo Hoo! This morning, when I walked in, I was completely blown away! Each and every one of the staff “had it goin’ on” in all the right places! They had three meaningful activities going on with everyone seated in a circle format and SUPER ENGAGED! All the residents had the biggest smiles that I have ever seen on their precious faces.
-Recreation Therapist
We have seen vast improvements. As time progressed, we could see how little things done differently affected changes across the spectrum. Establishing parallel programming was really a godsend to a lot of our residents. Parallel programming enables us to go beyond just meeting the basic needs of our residents and improves their overall quality of life.
-Dementia Program Director at CCRC
A resident’s daughter proceeded to give me a high five and told me her Mom’s quality of life has improved greatly.
-Resident Assistant

What Our Partners Are Saying About…

The Ability of the Training to Reach All Staff

The content was thoughtfully laid out to reach all levels of staff. This helped me and my management team learn so much about how to train my staff.
Caregivers now know more about what the residents would enjoy doing and what they can do.
Our staff has a sense of pride in having gone through the whole training.
The staff asked me a handful of times today of how they were doing. To me, this shows that they are really trying and that they are taking this seriously. I am at awe with them today and can’t wait for you to see how far they have come in just the last week!
-Program Coordinator
One caregiver stopped to talk to me. He said that he really enjoyed Sue, that she is an excellent instructor. He explained that most of the staff (himself included) speak English as a second language and it can be tiring to have to translate a lecture all day. Sue presented in a way that they were able to understand. I must say, it’s amazing.
-Program Coordinator
The training is interactive and engaging. Having all staff members present for the training was great for team building—it showed that we were all invested. It was helpful for them all to hear the same message at the same time.
-Staff Member

Other Aspects of the Training and I’m Still Here®

I had one of the best visits ever in 2 years!
-Family member
I enjoy my visits with my Mom now… she is better these last couple months than she has been in two years.
-Family member
I have seen more activities here in one day than anywhere else in a whole week.
Rethinking programming and rethinking the structure of the day laid a path for rethinking the way we view dementia and dementia care. Partnering with Hearthstone showed our staff that we were investing in them, helping them to grow professionally and embracing a philosophy of care all together as one organization.
Slowly but surely, we are changing the world…. step by step! Isn’t this awesome?
-Program Coordinator
I visited Boston to really get to grips with the Hearthstone method and was astounded to see the way they operated. So many aged care providers say they provide dementia care but all they really do is just adapt their existing care model and use drugs to help with any problems; Hearthstone was really different to anything we had seen before.
-Derek Markham, Melbourne, Australia
My experience at Hearthstone was eye opening. I had been under the impression that our memory care program was well executed, and could use bits of improvement, but overall felt that we did a good job with making positive resident experiences. Having the opportunity to be in a Hearthstone building, and being able to see firsthand what the possibilities are, I have now realized that we have such great potential to create a better quality of life for our residents, while showing out staff that they too can have fun while at work.
-Memory Care Director