North Wellington Health Care of Palmerston and District Hospital and Louise Marshall Hospital offer senior patients a Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP).
We recognize that many older adults, while in the hospital, have difficulty with memory, confusion, nutrition and mobility. The Hospital Life Elder Program provides specific interventions to help keep the mind and body active, so cognitive and physical functioning can be maintained.
Services are provided by HELP staff and volunteers. The HELP team includes: the Elder Life Specialist, Elder Life Clinical Nurse Specialists, Geriatrician and highly trained volunteers.
To participate, patients must be 65 years of age or older with one or more risk factors for functional cognitive decline or delirium.
Risk factors include:
- Decreased mobility or ADL impairment
- Pre-existing cognitive impairment, dementia, history of delirium
- Sensory impairment (vision, hearing)
- Inadequate caloric intake or dehydration
- Sleep deprivation
Patients may not participate in the program if they meet any of following criteria:
- Too medically unstable, unresponsive (coma) or death is imminent
- Severe dementia, psychosis, or behavioural problems unsafe for volunteer interaction
- Discharge firmly anticipated within 48h of admission
- Aphasia, unable to communicate
- Neutropenic precautions
- Airborne precautions (e.g. TB)
- Patient or family refusal for participation
- Geriatric interdisciplinary assessment and interventions coordinated by an Elder Life Specialist
- Assistance from specially trained volunteers, overseen by interdisciplinary professionals, who provide the following programs:
Daily Visitor: Orientation, communication and social support
Feeding Assistance: Help and companionship during meals
Therapeutic Activities: Mental stimulation and socialization
Early Mobilization: Daily exercise and help with mobilization
Vision / Hearing: Adaptations and equipment
- Linkage with community services to assist with the transition from the hospital to home