Hospital Elder Life Program

Highland is proud to offer the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) as part of our innovative and comprehensive health care services for older adults.

Developed at the Yale University School of Medicine, this program brings together hospital staff and volunteers to provide regular assessment, supportive visits and recreation and exercise opportunities for seniors at risk of delirium and other cognitive or physical difficulties. The program is very effective and has been shown to reduce delirium rates by as much as 30 percent.

Between 30 percent and 50 percent of seniors experience a decline in their physical and mental abilities during a hospital stay. One of the most common problems they face is delirium, a sudden confused state of mind. Delirium can be emotionally distressing for patients and their loved ones, and it can make it more difficult to recover from illness. Delirium often interferes with sleep and appetite, and presents a safety hazard because the condition increases the risk of falling.

How The Program Helps Older Patients

Working under the guidance of HELP program coordinator and our medical team, specially trained HELP volunteers make regular visits to older patients. This direct contact, conversation and activity during these visits helps seniors stay oriented, relaxed and engaged.

Program activities include:

  • Daily visits – provides wonderful support and socialization for seniors.
  • Recreational activities – simple word games and puzzles help patients stay mentally focused and provide recreation.
  • Meal assistance – encourages patients to receive the fluids and nutrients to maintain their strength.


Daily activities help patients to:


  • Maintain their mental and physical functioning throughout their hospital stay
  • Remain as independent as possible when they leave the hospital
  • Make a smooth, safe transition from the hospital to home or other care facility
  • Prevent unnecessary hospital readmissions