The Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) is a model program designed to improve the hospital experience for older patients. Older patients, particularly those who must spend several days in the hospital, may experience some mental (confusion, delirium) and physical (loss of balance and strength) issues during their stay. HELP can help these patients:
- Maintain cognitive and physical abilities
- Be as independent as possible at hospital discharge
- Make a smooth transition to their homes or a step-down setting
- Avoid readmission to the hospital
Hospitals throughout the United States have implemented HELP. It is based on research conducted at the Yale University School of Medicine, which found that delirium can be reduced by 40 percent through a multicomponent delirium intervention.
The HELP Team
Under the supervision of an Elder Life Nurse Specialist, a trained volunteer staff assesses and addresses the special needs of older patients during their stay at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital.
After assessing the needs of a patient, a member of the HELP staff, working with the Elder Life Nurse Specialist, will determine the types of activities that will benefit the patient. The activities may include one or several of the following:
- Daily Visitor Program – volunteers provide socialization and use learned techniques to promote communication to help prevent confusion in patients and maintain their mental functioning while they are in the hospital
- Therapeutic Activities Program – volunteers provide stimulating activities to help patients maintain mental and physical well-being
- Early Mobility Program – volunteers provide patients with range-of-motion exercises
- Feeding Assistance Program – volunteers provide patients with companionship and help at mealtimes
Patients who are 70 or older and are staying in the hospital for two or more days can be screened by the Elder Life Nurse Specialist to determine their eligibility for the program.
For more information on the program, contact Mandi Steed at (910) 715-2238.