Needs Assessment and Consulting Services

Expert members of the Institute team are available for field visits and question-and-answer sessions inside your facilities. It takes us no more than a concentrated day inside your organization to develop recommendations and a customized plan for services that will meet your unique training needs. Contact us to find out more.

The Institute will send Hearthstone representatives with a range of skills and expertise to provide consulting services to your organization.

Training Based on Your Organization’s Phase of Development and Level of Experience

The Hearthstone Institute’s training programs are integrated into your company’s memory care development and operations process in whatever stage they are at. We have successfully worked with startup communities that are just entering the conceptual design phase, as well as with well-established organizations that have been fully operational for some time. I’m Still Here® training builds on the culture of the organization to reflect its own values, while applying the fundamental person-centered values of the I’m Still Here® approach.

The Institute’s training programs help create long-term value by offering expert advice and consultation to align four key dimensions of your organization:

  • Environmental Design
  • Operations
  • Feedback and Research
  • Marketing

Environmental Design

Informed environmental design of the care environment, which is specifically aimed at meeting the needs of both staff and residents, is cost-effective in managing staff time and deployment. Designing the care environment with an understanding of the cognitive effects of dementia, and providing environmental cues to help residents orient themselves and find interesting things to do, reduces anxiety and wandering, making the environment more manageable for staff.

The Institute offers expert consultation on planning and design of facilities through Design Programming, Design Review and Post-Occupancy Evaluation research. Contact us to find out more about how investing in these services can pay off for your organization.

Facility Design and Program Development

Whether an existing organization is expanding, or opening its first facility, our professional team is available to assist with the challenges of creating the right kind of supportive environment.

Institute services are customized according to an organization’s needs, and range from expert input into Cost-effective Building Design to the creation of complete Operation and Marketing Plans.

Architectural Design

Expert Dr. John Zeisel’s experience and extensive work in the fields of architecture and evidence-based facility design provide us with the ability to offer consultation around site location and development, in addition to architectural design and building construction. Hearthstone has also developed a network of designers, architects, and developers with experience in the I’m Still Here® approach.

Our evidence from research shows that a properly designed physical environment reduces the frequency and severity with which residents experience symptoms of Alzheimer’s—such as agitation and anxiety—and increases residents’ comfort and quality of life.

Our use of evidence-based design principles also creates a less stressful workplace for caregiving staff. A thoughtfully designed floor plan and space layout can increase staff efficiency and reduce staffing costs for zone coverage in a residence. Over the lifespan of a building, a single purposeful design element can result in a return of hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings for the organization.

The Institute’s expert advisory services are available for the design of entire buildings, for dementia care units within an existing structure, and for our award-winning Healing Garden concept.

Improve your residents' lives and your market position today.


Operations include Management, Teamwork, Staff and Scheduling Analysis, and Levels of Care. The Hearthstone Institute’s training programs can include a full range of Operations Consulting Services that enable organizations to run efficiently while delivering high-quality care. These services are available on a consultation basis.


The Hearthstone Institute has developed an efficient and effective communications system for the I’m Still Here® approach, which tracks forms, communication logs and client records. Our tools specifically help management teams oversee multiple locations while maintaining quality throughout.


The Hearthstone Institute’s unique teamwork training provides company personnel with the tools necessary to create and support smooth and efficient staff teams. Hearthstone’s extensive experience has shown that  it is essential to create a corporate culture based on teams whose members communicate and work well together in order to implement and maintain the I’m Still Here® approach.

Staff and Scheduling Analysis

Companies are challenged by variation in the number of staff needed to care for residents exhibiting challenging memory impairment-related behaviors. When an organization has a low staff-to-resident ratio, or when staff members are not being used to their full potential, the amount of personal attention given to each resident is limited. The result is both an increased burden on caregivers, which reduces the efficacy of their valuable – and costly – training and experience, and an increase in the number of missed opportunities to create a better quality of life for those in your care.

Conversely, a staffing ratio that is too high compromises financial efficiency and waters down the small-community feel that provides familiarity and comfort to residents.

Hearthstone Institute’s expertise in managing staffing strategies and schedules is available to help clients achieve the ideal balance between these two staffing ratio extremes. We are experts in successfully maintaining high standards of quality care for residents as well as high employee satisfaction rates while maximizing economic efficiency.

Levels of Care

As residents progress through the stages of dementia, their cognitive and physical needs change. Hearthstone’s early-, mid- and late-stage programs are designed to adapt to these changing needs.

With access to specialized programs targeting varying levels of dementia, Hearthstone Institute experts can advise your organization on providing high-quality care and services to clients at every stage of the illness. Based on an organization’s needs, we will design and help you implement varied levels of care that are both cost-effective and compassionate.

Resident Assessment

Proper assessment of the memory care services a new resident requires is fundamental to a successful transition to the I’m Still Here® approach. It is also a key element in assuring the financial stability of organizations that provide such services. Hearthstone Institute professionals are available to train your staff on our time-tested assessment protocols for nursing and management staff to ensure this important first step in the process is properly managed.

Human Resources


Locating and retaining qualified and motivated staff is key to providing clients with a quality experience and reducing costly staff turnover. The Institute will train staff in Hearthstone’s interview techniques, which, combined with detailed job descriptions, create a system that can provide a reliable supply of excellent personnel who become long-term assets to your organization.

Call Outs / Overtime

When a staff member is unable to work their shift, an adjustment must be made that can result in overtime expenses. Often another person must be called to fill in so that care is still provided to residents.

The Institute will share Hearthstone’s highly successful system to manage this challenge, ingeniously allowing organizations to minimize overtime expenses without compromising quality of care or increasing costs.

Job Descriptions

Detailed job descriptions can encourage qualified professionals to apply for your vacant staff positions, while deterring unqualified job seekers from wasting their time or yours with dead-end applications and greatly improving an organization’s ‘quality over quantity’ response to a posting.

The Institute has access to a detailed description (developed and used by Hearthstone) for each position that an organization requires in order to successfully implement high-quality dementia programming and care.

Using our descriptions as a recruiting tool in job postings and ads enables HR teams to attract and quickly sort through a concentrated number of qualified candidates so you can efficiently get the right person in the right job.

Marketing and Sales

The success of each organization ultimately rests with its ability to promote the services it offers and build relationships with potential consumers and referral sources.

Hearthstone’s marketing team is available to perform competitive and demographic analyses. We can also assist in branding through name recognition, perform work on collateral development, create or develop advertising strategies, and assist in building media contacts for greater visibility of dementia programs.

In addition, Hearthstone Institute programs offer our client organizations access to Hearthstone’s extensive research results and study outcomes. This large database of empirical evidence is used to teach organizations and their personnel the following components of effective marketing:

  • How to promote memory care services to the professional community
  • How to promote memory care services to potential customers
  • How to analyze a marketing territory and outreach with maximum efficiency
  • How to develop a relationship with geriatric professionals that leads to referrals
  • How to identify key referrals sources in the community
  • How to prepare and conduct a tour that establishes your organization’s uniqueness and service quality in dementia care

We can help you hone a marketing message that consistently makes a positive impact on the consumer. A carefully crafted message increases the probability that those who take your tour will decide to place their loved ones in the residence or enroll in the services offered.

Financial Strategies

A responsive and responsible financial strategy helps ensure that the I’m Still Here® approach once implemented becomes a profit center in your company and continues to increase demand for services

The Institute team will help organizations provide high-quality care while maintaining profitability across departments through advising on Pricing Strategies and related issues such as how to manage and control Service Creep.

New Locations

The Hearthstone Institute’s operations team is available to assist organizations with each aspect of new location openings. Our experts can provide guidance through the application process, regulation boards and final certification. We also provide direction when a new residence is interviewing, hiring and training staff members.

Financial Planning and Review

We provide financial consultation and review related to Alzheimer’s and dementia services to organizations looking to develop or improve their financial performance. Our services include pro forma development for new projects and review of financial plans and budgets for existing organizations.

Evidence from Research

The Hearthstone Institute adheres to evidence-based practices and is closely tied to influential researchers and innovators in the field of applied dementia care. The Hearthstone Research Division has been funded by the National Institute on Aging, the National Endowment for the Arts and private foundations to conduct research on a range of topics relevant to dementia care, assisted living, and senior housing—both alone and in partnership with many of the world’s most respected memory professionals.

Partner organizations who have invested in and benefited from the Hearthstone Institute’s training services have the opportunity to participate in Hearthstone’s research projects. Hearthstone’s research staff team is available to conduct custom-designed pre- and post-training survey evaluations in order to measure outcomes of our staff training programs.



  • “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