The Alzheimer's HERO™ Programis a comprehensive program of specialized care and programming for implementation in dementia special care units/facilities. The key elements of the program include:
Well-defined philosophy and mission of care
Identification of target residents with admission and discharge criteria
Defined skill competencies and roles for staff with comprehensive staff training and support systems
Environmental guidelines for incorporating therapeutic design elements and enhanced safety
Clinical and operational guidelines and systems to facilitate a person-centered and activity-focused approach to care and programming
Resources and systems to provide on-going support and collaboration with families
Created and developed by Valerie Stephenson, MSSW, the program represents the culmination of 20 years of practical experience and lessons learned through the research, implementation, and evaluation process required in designing and overseeing more than 50 dementia special care units/facilities for corporations and facilities across the country. Central to the philosophy and approach to care is the focus on interactions and activities to enhance the psychosocial well-being of the "person behind the disease."
The Alzheimer's HERO™ poem below offers insight into the dual emphasis of this program: (1) to honor the important role of the caregiver as seen through the eyes of the person with Alzheimer's, and (2) to enage again the "hero" within the person with dementia through caring relationships, life story reminiscing, and meaningful activities with the caregivers.
Certified Alzheimer's HERO™ Program
The Alzheimer's HERO Program was developed to reflect best practices in dementia care and high standards of quality. It is inteded to set your facility apart as a leader in dementia care. In order to meet these goals, implementation of the program requires sincere facility commitment and close collaboration between the facility and the consultant. The implementation of the Alzheimer's HERO™ Program involves a "phasing-in" process with the facility that is facilitated by the consultant. This process is described in five phases in order to break down the various components of the consultation and training services involved. These phases include: (1) on-site pre-development consultation, (2) program overview and orientation for the facility, (3) the development of customized policies and procedures, (4) on-site staff and facilitator training, and (5) program evaluation, on-going consultant support, and networking with other Alzheimer's HERO™ facilities. At the conclusion of training and services identified in phase IV, the facility is awarded Alzheimer's HERO™ Program Certification with a plaque to commemourate the accomplishment. This Certification Plaque is an outward symbol of the dedication of the facility leadership and staff to reach the highest standards in dementia care. For more in-depth information about the program, implementation, and certification, please click on the icons on this page.
Alzheimer's HERO™ Affiliate
This certification is designated for nursing facilities, personal care/assisted living residences, and day care centers that want to incorporate the Alzheimer's HERO™ staff training but do not need the full compliment of services and products encompassed in the Alzheimer's HERO™ Program. Certification as an Alzheimer's HERO™ Affiliate includes on-site training for staff and facilitators and all the training products included in the full Alzheimer's HERO™ Program package. At the Affiliate level, facilites are not eligible for the Alzheimer's HERO™ Awards program.