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Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) at UPMC Shadyside Hospital

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Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) is designed to prevent delirium in patients age 70 and older who are hospitalized at UPMC Shadyside. Volunteers spend quality time interacting with patients, offering services to improve the quality of the patient’s stay, while watching for signs of delirium.

The volunteer has an assigned shift set around the patients' scheduled meals and will see approximately 15 patients each shift to:

  • Perform interventions to address recognized risk factors for developing delirium.
  • Interact with the patient’s care team.
  • Provide feedback in a database regarding the patient.
  • Ensure the correct meal was delivered by the hostess.
  • Ensure each patient is properly situated to eat, with their food and tray accessible.

Structured training is provided regarding delirium, the hospital setting, HELP’s electronic data base and delirium prevention techniques.

Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) Requirements

  • Must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Must be an undergraduate or graduate student interested in pursuing a career in healthcare (Course credit may be available at some area universities if the volunteer makes the proper arrangements).
  • 120 hour minimum commitment
    • One shift per week for two academic semesters OR
    • Two shifts per week for one academic semester
    • Shifts are set times and assigned for the semester, Monday through Friday 8 am - 12 pm, 12 pm through 4 pm, and 4 pm through 8 pm
  • Attendance at an Open House or an individual meeting with HELP staff.
  • Have a valid Social Security Number.

Application Dates

Applicants may apply at any time, however, we recruit at least one full semester in advance and positions do fill up quickly.

Apply for the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) or other volunteer opportunities at UPMC Shadyside.​​