New Website Launched for Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP)

The Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) at Yale School of Medicine, has launched a new website to address the needs of older patients about to be admitted to the hospital.

Aimed at clinicians and families of these patients, the new site is designed to provide information about hospital care and avoiding complications of hospitalization, including functional decline and delirium. Delirium is a sudden disturbance in thinking or attention that occurs frequently in hospitalized older persons but often goes unrecognized.

Responding to suggestions from clinicians across the country who work with older adults, the website provides educational materials (in large print format) for patients and caregivers, as well as a reference listing, searchable bibliography, and useful links for clinicians about acute hospital care for older persons generally and about delirium specifically. The website also provides information about HELP and information dissemination sites around the world.

HELP is an innovative and cost–effective model of hospital care developed by Sharon Inouye, M.D., professor of internal/general medicine and her team at Yale University School of Medicine. The program is designed to reduce delirium and functional decline by keeping older hospitalized patients oriented to their surroundings, keeping them mobile, avoiding unnecessary medications, and meeting their needs for nutrition, fluids, and sleep while in the hospital. The website will also provide support for enrolling new and ongoing HELP sites.

“Our goal is to create an online community for those involved in acute hospital care for older persons,” said HELP website designer Peter Charpentier.

Dorothy Baker, director of the HELP National Dissemination Project, said, “The HELP program and the website can play a critical role in improving patient safety for older persons in the hospital setting.”

The current website development team includes Sharon Inouye, M.D., Dorothy Baker, Peter Charpentier, Patricia Fugal, Susan Grant, Geraldine Hawthorne, Eric Miller and Lynne Sette.

Funding for the development of the website was provided by the National Library of Medicine.

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