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West Penn Hospital

Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP)

The Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) is designed to improve the hospital experience of older patients. Hospitalization can be a pivotal point in the life of an older person. All too often, they experience decline in their physical and mental abilities, which makes it difficult for them to fully recover from their illness and return to their previous ability to function.

HELP was designed to:

  • Assist patients in maintaining cognitive and physical function throughout their hospital stay.
  • Allow patients to be discharged from the hospital as independently as possible.
  • Support the patient’s transition from hospital to the community.
  • Prevent unplanned readmission.

The Volunteer's Role

HELP gives participants a unique level of patient contact and responsibility. Volunteers help to create a friendly hospital environment by providing sympathetic support, encouragement, and companionship to older patients and their families.

Volunteers provide specific assistance in four intervention programs:

  • Daily Visitor Program
  • Feeding Assistance Program
  • Therapeutic Activities Program
  • Caring and Comfort Program

Training is provided for all participants.

If you’re interested in lending your time to HELP, please complete the Volunteer Application Form.