Research-Based

Few if any memory care providers fund and carry out their own research to determine what is best and what can be improved for clients with cognitive challenges.

Hearthstone’s Research Division, led by Director Michael Skrajner, is a global pioneer in non-pharmacological interventions for dementia. Hearthstone’s Research Division is the leading non-pharmacological research organization funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH). The Research Division team has collaborated with some of the premier thought leaders in dementia care, including Dr. Barry Reisberg, Dr. Peter Whitehouse, and Dr. Paul Raia.

Today, memory care organizations all over the country use Hearthstone’s research results for:

  • Techniques used to effectively communicate with persons living with dementia
  • Behavioral changes observed in cognitively impaired adults who take part in I’m Still Here® programs
  • Long-term outcomes of innovative I’m Still Here® interventions
  • Prioritizing the activities and approaches most beneficial to those living with dementia.

Standardized measures determine the effects of different activities and interventions on Resident behavior. Study results are published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at leading scientific conferences.

The time-chart below shows how much Hearthstone has invested in advancing knowledge about dementia care over the years, and indicates how key questions and issues related to expanding the non-pharmacological approach to care have been answered.

  • 1992

    • Research on environmental design for Memory Care (walking paths, exit doors, common spaces)
    • Study funded by the Geriatric Drug Therapy Research Institute: Medication Management
  • 1993

    • First Hearthstone residence opens in Hopkinton MA
    • Study funded by the Administration on Aging: Community Based Partnerships for Alzheimer’s Care
    • Development of the Life Quality activity program (mid stage)
    • Development of the basic I’m Still Here® communication techniques
    • Development of first dementia specific medication administration program (adopted by MA state)
    • Development of advanced dementia specific training for care giving staff
  • 1994

    • Development of the I’m Still Here® Personal Care experience
    • SBIR funded: Design Criteria for Alzheimer’s Special Care Program
    • Development of the I’m Still Here® Dining Experience
    • Development of the Enhanced program (late stage)
  • 1995

    • Healing Garden: design elements, therapeutic uses
    • Memory Boxes (design and use as a reminiscence tool)
    • Development of the Cognitive Strengthening Program (early stage)
  • 1996

    • Development of Treatment Photos
  • 2000

    • SBIR funded: Resident Centered Information Systems for Assisted Living
  • 2001

    • “Talking Lights” in‐ceiling tracking system research (privately funded)
  • 2004

    • SBIR funded: open label study of Depakote
  • 2005

    • Research and development of Montessori learning principles
  • 2006

    • Namaste programming study (not implemented)
  • 2007

    • Procedural Interval Learning (PIL)™ study
    • Artists for Alzheimer’s™ launch
  • 2008

    • SBIR funded : Development of RAMP™ (Resident Assisted Montessori Programming)
  • 2010

    • Memory books study
    • Development of POWER™ non‐pharmacologic interventions planning model
  • 2011

    • Development of C‐MAP™ concept
    • Research and development of Hearthside Stories™, Lingo Bingo™, Category Sorts
    • SBIR funded: The Hearthside Book Club™; Pioneering Dementia‐Level‐Appropriate Reading Materials
    • Development of Interactive Art Gallery
  • 2012

    • Development of the Pathways™ clubs/classes/committees model
    • I’m Still Here® book is published (English edition)
    • Development of the Morning Gathering
    • SBIR funded: Life is a Stage; Dementia Care and the Dramatic Arts (Scripted IMPROV™)
    • Hearthstone featured in nationwide PBS Hopeful Aging
  • 2013

    • Development of independent Learning Stations
    • Resident‐lead refreshment buffet study
    • Resident‐directed exercise programs study
    • Learning for Life™ Academy opens
    • It Takes a Village™ launch
    • Development of the I’m Still Here® Skills Inventory Assessment tools
  • 2014

    • Development of the Music & Movement program
    • Development of Sensory Spa
  • 2015

    • SBIR funded: development of multi‐level Hearthside stories
  • 2016

    • Development of multi‐level Morning Gathering
    • SBIR funded: Home 4 Care

To find out more about the impact of that our programs have on persons with dementia

To see a list of publications by the Hearthstone team