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Media Contact: Christian Meagher, Communications Specialist

Griffin Health HELP Program Honored with Innovation Award

By Christian Meagher on 1/29/2020

A program at Griffin Health designed to reduce instances of delirium in older patients recently received The Person-Centered Care Innovation Award.

Awarded by Planetree International, the Person-Centered Care Innovation Award recognizes ideas and initiatives that have fundamentally improved the experience of care for patients, families, staff, and communities.

Griffin’s Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) prevents cognitive and functional decline in older hospitalized patients by helping them stay oriented to their surroundings, meeting their needs for nutrition, hydration and sleep, and by keeping them mobile within the limitations of their physical condition.

“HELP provides extraordinary, cost effective care to patients and families that complement Griffin Hospital’s Planetree Model of Care,” said Diane Betkoski, MS, RD, Director of Planetree Programs and Services at Griffin Health. “It is unique in its approach by being a complete, evidence based, patient-centered program that is oriented to the wishes and needs of older patients and also provides additional psychosocial support.”

Older hospitalized adults are at a greater risk for developing delirium during their hospital stay. This can lead to a higher rate of falls, lower levels of patient engagement, and discharges to nursing homes for extended care before returning home.

With HELP, Griffin Hospital patients who are 70 years and older and at risk for delirium are visited by an Elder Life Specialist who completes health interventions to address individualized patient needs.

In approximately two years, the HELP has led to a significant reduction in the hospital’s delirium rate and length of stay for patients experiencing delirium. It has also resulted in the elimination of falls by patients assessed as being at risk for delirium.

“Patients without families or loved ones value the companionship that HELP volunteers provide,” said Laura Howell, BS, NBC-HWC, Planetree Services Supervisor at Griffin Health. “Family members – particularly those who cannot be in the hospital with their loved ones throughout the hospital stay – are grateful for the additional support provided by HELP volunteers for meal time assistance, and ambulation, conversation social interaction the volunteers provide. Not only is this program a benefit to patients, but to volunteers who derive pleasure and satisfaction knowing that their care directly impacts patient wellbeing.”

Volunteers are needed for the HELP program at Griffin Hospital. To learn more, or to become a volunteer, visit griffinhealth.org/about/volunteer-opportunities or call 203-732-7555