Read more about the HELP program in an interview with Dr. Joanne Crantz, Chief of Geriatrics at Inova Fairfax Hospital – and one of 2009's "Influential Women of Virginia," according to Virginia Lawyers Weekly.
The innovative Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) helps prevent confusion and preserves independent functioning in older patients. With the assistance of carefully trained volunteers, older patients receive individualized, bedside attention to lessen or prevent what is known as delirium.
Delirium is a frightening but controllable form of confusion that is surprisingly common among older patients. It can result from illness, infection, a blood abnormality, the effects of a new medication or a move to unfamiliar surroundings.
How our HELP volunteers decrease the risk of delirium
- Communication — visit, converse and reminisce; supply assistance devices such as hearing amplifiers and magnifiers; encourage expressions of need and concern
- Relaxation — ease anxiety, depression, pain and insomnia; use stress relievers such as imagery, breathing techniques, music therapy, nail polishing and hand massage
- Recreation — encourage simple physical exercises and mentally-stimulating activities such as card playing, jigsaw puzzles, games and reading
- Meals — assist with eating; provide companionship during mealtimes
- Comfort and spirituality — offer presence, touch and soothing voice; offer religious objects, reading materials, prayer or other expressions of spirituality if desired
Learn how you can help support HELP at Inova Fairfax Hospital
For more information about HELP, contact Susan Heisey, MSW, at 703-776-6824.