Hospital Elder Life Program (H.E.L.P.)

Promoting excellence in hospital care for acutely ill seniors

So many elderly people spend long, lonely hours in hospital. It’s wonderful to have a program like H.E.L.P. that brings sunshine to a patient's day. — Family member

About H.E.L.P.

H.E.L.P. is an innovative approach that uses dedicated volunteers to improve care for elderly patients in a hospital setting. This makes their inpatient stay more pleasant and facilitates their transition from hospital to home.

The goal of H.E.L.P. is to assist seniors in maintaining their level of functionality and to prevent delirium during hospitalization at the Jewish General Hospital (JGH). This can be achieved through a series of exercises and activities that are customized to meet the special needs of seniors. The program relies on trained volunteers to provide four types of interventions to stimulate mental, physical and social well-being:

  • daily orientation
  • basic active exercises
  • meal assistance
  • recreational activities

H.E.L.P. operates 7 days a week (mornings, afternoons and evenings).

Patients

To benefit from H.E.L.P., a patient must:

  • be at least 75 years old or have a geriatric profile 
  • be hospitalized at the JGH more than 2 days 
  • be at risk for cognitive and functional decline (i.e., baseline cognitive impairment, use of a mobility aid, visual impairment, hearing impairment, malnourished and/or dehydrated) 
  • be able to participate

Family members

It can be difficult to see a loved one in hospital, even more so if they are experiencing cognitive and functional decline and/or delirium. However, family members can turn to H.E.L.P. in the hope of preventing this from happening. H.E.L.P. provides interventions that engage and stimulate their loved one to stay mentally and physically active, to as great a degree as possible.

Those close to hospitalized elderly patients are encouraged to work with H.E.L.P. volunteers to facilitate the process and to assist in making their loved one ones feel more at ease. To do so, family members can bring in items from home, including family photos, personal belongings and comfortable clothing (e.g., bathrobe), as well as necessities such as glasses, a hearing aid or dentures.

Playing cards and other interactive games will be available for family members to play with their loved one.

Volunteers

H.E.L.P. volunteers make all the difference to a senior’s life. We are looking for volunteers who are passionate about helping others and are seeking a fulfilling experience.

If you are interested in working with seniors and are patient, reliable, able to exercise good judgment, mature, discreet, empathetic, diplomatic and able to speak French and English (a third language is an asset), why not become a H.E.L.P. volunteer today!

As a volunteer you will receive extensive training to provide you with the tools to work in a hospital. You will gain hands-on experience, plus knowledge and skills that can be applied in various health care settings. Many of the program’s volunteers go on to work in health care, where they make use of the skills that they learned as a H.E.LP. volunteer.

Contact

Isabelle Lamontagne 
H.E.L.P. Elder Life Specialist 
Room B-664.2
514-340-8222, local 24262 
ilamontagne@jgh.mcgill.ca

A little goes a long way

The support of the JGH Foundation, the JGH Auxiliary and individual donors is essential in enabling the Hospital Elder Life Program (H.E.L.P.) to provide its much-needed services. Thanks to these generous donations, H.E.L.P. is improving care for elderly patients in a hospital setting. To donate, please contact the  JGH Foundation.

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