Research and Studies

The Best Friends™ philosophy of care has been successfully applied in many caregiving settings and evaluated on a program-by-program basis.


An Administration on Aging (AoA) funded study (Danner & McGuire, 2010 Alzheimer’s Care Today) compared adult day center staff who were trained in the Best Friends™ approach to staff members without Best Friends™ training and found that introduction of this model of care for individuals with dementia not only was valuable but also delayed long-term residential placements.

Study results included the following:
“When asked specific questions related to the effectiveness of the program in making participants feel cheerful, energetic, content, lively, and anticipatory, [the study center] received higher ratings on all items [than the control center]. Similarly, when asked how effective the program was in minimizing the negative responses of anxiety, frustration, distress, irritation, and feelings of being fed up, [the study center] received much higher ratings in all categories”


In 2008, as American Baptist Homes of the West (ABHOW) sought CARF-CCAC accreditation, it announced its decision to partner with David Troxel for guidance in the implementation of the Best Friends™ model of care so that its participating memory care units could secure accreditation in dementia care. ABHOW was the first multi-site company in the U.S. to seek such accreditation for a dementia care program. Its memory care units earned some of the highest scores in the evaluation process.


A 2006 survey conducted by the Alzheimer Society of Calgary, a licensed provider of Best Friends™ training to professional caregivers since 2003, concluded:
“Evaluation results demonstrate how the Best Friends™ Approach Associate Trainer Program achieved positive results toward effecting change within organizations concerned with improving the quality of life of people with dementia” and “100% of respondents stated that the Best Friends™ Approach has improved the delivery of care to persons with dementia.”


In 2005, as the Alzheimer’s Association launched its Campaign for Quality Residential Care. Co-director Peter Reed was quoted as having been inspired to launch the initiative after having volunteered under Virginia Bell and sharing a commitment to the Best Friends™ key element to “know the person first.”


A 2002 evaluation study of Best Friends™ training in Maine reported results from 23 of 25 pilot-site participants including: 

  • Staff felt more comfortable with communicating with residents with Alzheimer’s disease after training and reported that residents seem less stressed
  • A number of facilities incorporated Best Friends™ principles into their orientation programs
  • Pilot sites noticed a distinct difference in the positive way training participants interacted with residents compared to staff who did not take the training
  • Families felt more involved in the ongoing care of their loved one and appreciated that staff were looking for new ways to help