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OTMH Launching Hospital Elder Life Program as an Innovative

Approach to Care for Older Adults

Volunteers with presentation cheque in front of entrance to OTMH
OTMH Launching Hospital Elder Life Program as an Innovative
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Paul McIvor

Paul McIvor

Paul McIvor is the Creative Services & Content Manager, for the Communications & Public Affairs Department of Halton Healthcare, He started in May 2015. He earned his Masters of Arts from the University of South Africa.

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The Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) will be launching at the new Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital (OTMH) in April 2016 and will offer an innovative approach to providing care for older adults with the goal of preventing delirium and functional decline. On March 30, 2016, the Oakville Hospital Volunteer Association (OHVA) proudly presented $2,000 to OTMH in support of HELP.

Hospitalized older patients may experience a decline in their physical and mental abilities which makes it difficult for them to fully recover from their illness and return to their previous ability to function. The Hospital Elder Life Program was created by a geriatrician, Dr. Sharon Inouye from Yale University to prevent these problems.

Goals of HELP

  1. To maintain the cognitive and physical functioning of patients throughout hospitalization
  2. To allow patients to be discharged from the hospital as independently as possible
  3. To assist with the transition from the hospital to the community
  4. To prevent unplanned readmissions

Two Elder Life Specialists at OTMH, Gaye Morgan and Shirley Coughlin, serve as coordinators of the
program and design patient-specific activities that are carried out up to three times a day by highly
trained HELP volunteers.

Elements of the program:

  1. Daily visits to promote orientation and socialization
  2. Therapeutic activities to keep patients mentally stimulated during their hospital stay
  3. Early mobilization to provide daily walking assistance and exercises
  4. Feeding assistance at mealtime to offer companionship and help as needed
  5. The use of a natural approach to sleep enhancement
  6. Reminder to use hearing and vision aids if necessary

“We are thrilled to be introducing the Hospital Elder Life Program at OTMH. As our population ages and the needs of our older patients increases, programs such as this will help to enhance the well-being and safety of our patients. We are pleased to include HELP as an integral part of our Safer Elder Care initiatives.” – Kim Kohlberger,Director, Rehabilitation and Geriatrics, Halton Healthcare

Quick facts:

  1. The aging population continues to be a major theme in the Mississauga Halton LHIN. Over the next 10 years, the percentage of people aged 75 and older will grow by approximately 55 per cent. This growth creates increasing demands on our health care system and we are challenged to find sustainable solutions to maintain and improve health care for patients and seniors.
  2. To ensure the success of HELP, the OHVA is generously funding the purchase of equipment which the volunteers will use to engage patients mentally, physically and socially.
  3. OHVA’s mission is to support Halton Healthcare and OTMH by providing quality care and fundraising for new hospital equipment. To learn more about the OHVA, please visit www.haltonhealthcare.com/OHVA



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