The Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) is an innovative delirium-prevention program designed to improve the hospital experience of older patients.  Originally developed by Dr. Sharon K. Inouye from Yale University’s School of Medicine and now housed at Harvard University, the HELP program is used in hospitals around the world as the leading delirium-prevention program for older patients. The goals of the HELP program are to prevent delirium, to maintain the cognitive & physical functioning of patients throughout their hospital stay, to support older patients to return home from the hospital as independently as possible and to prevent unplanned returns to the hospital.

The program strives to support enrolled patients up to three (3) times daily, seven (7) days a week by providing the following services:

  • Daily Visiting through increased orientation and social support

  • Early Mobilization by encouraging patients to keep moving

  • Hearing & Vision Support by offering access to glasses and/or hearing amplifiers

  • Therapeutic Engagement through meaningful activities that keep the brain active

  • Meal Support such as helping to open packages, tray set-up, socialization, and encouraging fluids when needed. *This does not include direct feeding support with patients.

  • Sleep Health by promoting more restful sleep routines and relaxation techniques.


The Hospital Elder Life Program consists of a dedicated, specially trained HELP volunteer team, HELP co-op and/or placement students and an Elder Life Specialist, responsible for enrolment and leading the program.


The Hospital Elder Life Program continues to work towards expanding the program throughout the hospital in order to support identified patients.

To qualify for support from the HELP team, patients must be:

  • 65 years old or greater

  • At-risk for delirium

  • Discharge not anticipated within 48 hours

  • Have at least one (1) of the following delirium risk factors:

    • Cognitive impairment
    • Changes in mobility
    • Vision/hearing impairment
    • Dehydration/malnutrition risk
  • Be able to participate in the program

  • Not on droplet or airborne isolation precautions (contact isolation only)


Patients and/or supporting care partners can make a referral to this program by speaking to their nurse or allied health provider. Qualifying patients will be assessed and enrolled by HELP’s Elder Life Specialist and connected to the HELP Team to receive program interventions.


We are building our team!

Volunteering with HELP is a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in the lives of older patients during their hospital stay at PRHC. We offer free and specialized training for our HELP volunteer team. Due to the training investment, we require members of the HELP volunteer team to commit one, 3 to 4 hour shift per week, over a six month or 100-hour period of time.

To be considered for the HELP volunteer team, please apply through Volunteer Services. Please specify “HELP” under Area of Interest on your application.

Are you a student who is interested in a career in healthcare?

HELP is a highly sought-after learning experience for those interested in working with seniors and/or pursuing a career in healthcare. Throughout the school year, the HELP accepts co-op and/or placement students.

To be considered for HELP student co-op and/or placement, please have your school placement coordinator contact our Human Resources Department.

Learn about how you can join the HELP Volunteer Team.