Hospital Elder Life Program

Many seniors have problems with their memory, thinking and mobility while in hospital. The Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) helps keep the mind and body as active as possible as a way to prevent delirium, a mental state that can cause confusion and restlessness.

The HELP team consists of elder life specialists, elder life clinical nurse specialists, doctors, and specially-trained volunteers who engage with senior patients aged 75 or older who are at risk of delirium.

This page contains information about the HELP program at Hamilton Health Sciences.


No referral is required for the HELP program. Patients staying in the following areas of the hospital are assessed to determine whether HELP is appropriate for them.

Hamilton General Hospital: Wards 4W, 5W, 7S, 8S, 8W and Overflow Medicine Unit.

Juravinski Hospital: Wards B3, E2, E3, E4, F3, F4 and F5.

HELP program volunteers provide services up to three times a day, seven days a week. Services include:

  • visits by a friendly person every day
  • activities to keep the mind working
  • social activities
  • help with movement and walking
  • help to relax and sleep without medication
  • help with eating and provide company during meals
  • help with special needs for seeing and hearing

Becoming a HELP Volunteer

Learn more about the role of a HELP volunteer.

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer in the HELP program, please contact our Volunteer Resources team.

For Healthcare Providers

HELP Workshops

We offer full day workshops twice per year (spring & fall) for healthcare professionals interested in learning more about Delirium prevention strategies and the principles of the Hospital Elder Life Program philosophy and application to various settings.  Our workshop is delivered as part of the Geriatric Certificate Program through the Regional Geriatric Program.

Click for more information on HELP workshops.

We are a designated Centre of Excellence for the Hospital Elder Lifer Program (HELP) best practice approaches.  We provide consultation and assistance to healthcare providers in other hospitals across Canada and internationally interested in implementing their own HELP Team.