About Best Friends

  1. About Best Friends™
  2. Key Elements of Best Friends
  3. World-Renowned Developers and Authors
  4. Professional Development/Training
  5. Master Trainer Certification
  6. Master Trainer Certificate Extension (MTX)
  7. Maintaining Master Trainer Certification
  8. Special Programs Built on Best Friends™
  9. Translations
  10. Best Friends™ Products
  11. The Training Company
About Best Friends™

Best Friends™ is a person-centered, compassionate approach grounded in the understanding that relationships are supremely important to dementia care and that they require the essential elements of friendship: respect, empathy, support, trust, and humor. With Best Friends™, the focus is on the individual—each person’s rights and personal history, as well as his or her relationships with all care partners. This care philosophy supports care providers in their efforts to transform the attitudes and practices of staff as well as the culture of their communities that are providing memory care. The core components of the Best Friends™ philosophy include the Dementia Bill of Rights, the Life Story, the Knack, and the art of Communication. Those who have used and endorsed the approach—including state-level agencies, Alzheimer’s Association chapters, and corporations providing care in a variety of settings—have found that the use of this adaptable approach improves not only the quality of care for the people they serve but the efficacy and satisfaction of staff.

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Key Elements of Best Friends

The Best Friends™ Dementia Bill of Rights: The universal touchstone for dementia care reflects the underlying core principles of the Best Friends™ philosophy, stressing compassion, empathy, and respect in the face of a devastating disease.

Life Story: Good dementia care begins with the acknowledgement of a person’s life story. Because people with dementia often can no longer tell us their histories, care partners must become their biographers. The more a care partner knows about a person, the more he or she can use the Life Story to improve interactions and care.

Knack: Defined as “the art of doing difficult things with ease,” the Knack represents an attitude and set of skills that guarantee the success of the Best Friends™ approach (Knowledge, Nurturing, Approach, Community, Kinship).

Communication: Person-centered interactions are grounded in a core set of communication principles.

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World-Renowned Developers and Authors

Virginia Bell, M.S.W., and David Troxel, M.P.H.

Collaborators: Tonya Cox, M.S.W., and Robin Hamon, M.S.W.
Expert Leaders for Master Trainer Certification: Virginia Bell, M.S.W., David Troxel, M.P.H., Tonya Cox, M.S.W., Cindy Lilly, M.S.W.

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Professional Development/Training

Specialized Expert Training (S.E.T.) is HPP’s professional development program that is customized to individual customer needs. HPP authors develop their trainings directly around the content of their books, the research behind their work, and their experiences in the field. The Best Friends™ approach has been one of the most sought-after topics in the S.E.T. program. The authors/speakers offer customized trainings, introduction to Best Friends™ training, staff training, activity programming training, and the Best Friends™ Approach Institute for Master trainer certification.

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Master Trainer Certification

Master Trainer certification is conferred on professionals who successfully complete their training at The Best Friends™ Approach Institute. The Institute is a 2-day training held once a year by Health Professions Press, and lead by Best Friends™ expert trainers. Master Trainer certification makes you a licensed trainer, and you are able to train staff members at your caregiving community in the Best Friends™ approach.

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Master Trainer Certificate Extension (MTX)

Eligible Master Trainers (e.g., those who are self-employed) may qualify to conduct income-generating introductory trainings in the Best Friends™ model. This option is designed for independent dementia trainers and consultants who wish to distinguish themselves as a source of expert training in personalized, holistic dementia care and to be confident of providing training and consultation at organizations seeking introductory training.

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Maintaining Master Trainer Certification

Master Trainer status is maintained by ongoing monitoring and certification renewal. This ensures maintenance of high-level implementation and fidelity to the model of care.

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Special Programs Built on Best Friends™

Across the U.S. and Canada, and even in other countries, state-level programs, health care agencies, and individual corporations have sought and been granted permission by Health Professions Press to create special programs featuring the Best Friends™ approach. Groups are encouraged to contact HPP if they are interested in exploring opportunities to customize initiatives using the Best Friends™ work and materials. The association of an organization’s program with the Best Friends™ brand can augment the high quality of the program’s offering, enhance outcomes for staff and families, and add to the attractiveness of the program for consumers.

Click here to see details about our licensed programs and how they have implemented Best Friends™.

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In addition to selling in the English language throughout the world via distributors located in the U.K., Canada, Australia, South and Central America, Asia, India, and the Middle East, the Best Friend™ books have garnered the attention of publishers from around the world responding to the international interest in and adoption of the Best Friends™ approach.

To date, translations include:
The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s Care: Arabic (first-ever Alzheimer’s book in Arabic, published by Alzheimer’s Association Lebanon), German (Ernst Reindardt Verlag), Italian (Armando Editore), Spanish (Editorial Herder Mexico)

The Best Friends Staff: German (Ernst Reinhardt Verlag)

The Best Friends Book of Alzheimer’s Activities, Volume 1: German (Ernst Reinhardt Verlag)

A Dignified Life: Korean (HCI and Montreal-Contacts/The Rights Agency), Chinese (HCI and PsyGarden Publishing, Taiwan)

The Original Alzheimer’s Disease Bill of Rights: Translated in Arabic, Cantonese, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, and many more languages. These translations have appeared in numerous newsletters, journals, web site pages, and conference materials worldwide.

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Best Friends™ Products

The Best Friends™ approach was first introduced in the book The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s Care by Virginia Bell and David Troxel. Since it first published in 1997, the collection of Best Friends products have grown to include revised and updated editions of the original book, a Spanish edition of the original book, a Best Friends book for staff, activity books, a DVD, a daily planner, and a book just for family members of people with dementia.

Click here to see the full list of Best Friends products.

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The Training Company

Health Professions Press, Inc. (HPP) is a publisher of professional references and textbooks in long-term care, gerontology, and healthcare administration, plus practical resources for nursing home and aging services staff, program administrators, allied health professionals, speech-language pathologists, elder care providers, and other service providers. Our titles feature today’s best practices, which are based foremost on respecting the individual needs of old adults as well as on the most current research and model programs in aging and long-term care.

Click here to read about HPP’s vision and mission.

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Review our FAQs

Click here for full overview of Best Friends™