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Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP)

The Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) is an innovative model of hospital care designed to prevent delirium and functional decline in hospitalized older adults. HELP uses interdisciplinary staff and targeted intervention protocols to improve patients' outcomes and provide cost-effective care.

The primary goals of the program are:

  • Maintaining cognitive and physical functioning of high risk older adults throughout hospitalization
  • Maximizing independence at discharge
  • Assisting with the transition from hospital to home
  • Preventing unplanned hospital readmissions

These goals have been accomplished using a multicomponent intervention strategy. In addition to targeted interdisciplinary geriatric assessment, HELP uses an innovative volunteer model to provide personal, supportive attention to vulnerable older patients. HELP materials include a structured curriculum for instructing volunteers to deliver daily orientation, early mobilization, feeding assistance, therapeutic activities, a non-pharmacological sleep protocol, and hearing/vision adaptations.

The Hospital Elder Life Program has been successful at returning older adults to their homes or previous living situations with maintained or improved ability to function. With demonstrated clinical- and cost-effectiveness in over 25 published studies, HELP provides training and support for skilled interdisciplinary staff to implement the program, which has been adopted by over 200 hospitals worldwide. Visit the HELP website for more information on how to establish HELP at your hospital.