Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP)

The elderly population is a vulnerable group with multiple chronic health conditions and special needs.  Loss of independence, strength and new confusion are frequent outcomes of hospital stays for elderly patients.  This new confusion and disorientation is medically termed delirium which is considered a medical emergency.

Research shows that functional and cognitive decline occur in up to 50% of hospitalized older people but that these declines can be prevented.   The Hospital Elder Life Program has been successful in returning older adults to their homes or previous living situations with maintained or improved ability to function.

HELP is available 7 days a week from 10 am to 7 pm.

HELP is a quality enhancement program provided by our hospital that seeks to improve the hospital experience of hospitalized older patients.  HELP utilizes specific interventions and specially trained volunteers to keep older people oriented to their surroundings, mobile within the limitations of their physical condition while meeting their needs of nutrition, hydration and sleep.

At North Bay Regional Health Centre the HELP program is presently implemented on our medical units and surgical units.

  • To maintain physical and cognitive functioning throughout hospitalization
  • To maximize independence at discharge
  • To prevent delirium
  • To prevent unplanned readmissions.

How HELP Works

Through a screening process and interview with the patient, the Elder Life Specialist will develop a “care plan” specific to each patient, listing specific interventions for HELP volunteers to carry-out during their volunteer shifts in order to keep the mind and body as active as possible in spite of illness.

Interventions include:

  • Regular orientation, socialization and mental stimulation
  • Therapeutic activities — friendly visiting, newspaper, cards, word puzzles, ect
  • Promotion of regular exercise eg. ROM exercises or supervised walking
  • Encouragement and set-up for meals and fluids
  • Promotion of healthy sleep by engaging patients in meaningful activities and preventing excess napping throughout the day.

Patient Eligibility

The HELP program is designed for a specific demographic of patients. Our services are deigned to address the frail and elderly.


  • Age 65 + and located on HELP unit
  • At least one risk factor for cognitive or functional decline
  • Risk Factors include: cognitive impairment, vision impairment, hearing impairment, dehydration, mobility impairment
  • Patients that will be returning home upon discharge
  • Patients who are physically stable enough to participate

Referral Process

If you have a family member at NBRHC that is on one of the floors that offers the HELP program (A3/B3/C3/D3), please feel free to ask your nurse or health care provider to send us a referral to initiate HELP interventions with your loved one.

Become a Volunteer

If you are interested in becoming a HELP volunteer please contact the Elder Life Specialists at 705-474-8600 ext 3955.  You may also connect through NBRHC’s Volunteer Engagement Department.

North Bay

50 College Drive,
P.O. Box 2500
North Bay, ON
P1B 5A4
Tel: 705-474-8600

feature buttons


680 Kirkwood Drive,
Sudbury, ON
P3E 1X3
Tel: 705-675-9193
Fax: 705-675-6817

feature buttons

Floor Plans

Let us guide you to where you need to go.

Visitors Guide

feature buttons