HELP nurses
Nursing students Lynn Phan and Lisa Warfe wear HELP t-shirts to let patients know they are volunteers for this special program.

With funds from a generous grant from the Archstone Foundation, MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center has implemented a unique program that elevates care for our senior patients: HELP (Hospital Elder Life Program).

Already an accredited Geriatric Emergency Hospital, and a recognized Age-Friendly hospital, Saddleback Medical Center continues its strong commitment to caring for seniors. Funds from the grant were utilized to train almost 300 volunteer nursing students in specific protocols for senior patients.

The nursing students are taught how to recognize symptoms of delirium, and how to make elderly patients feel comfortable. They set up family photos, actively listen, and hold their hands. The hospital purchased supplies for activities that help promote relaxation, manage pain, and promote sleep, like sleep masks and ear plugs, exercise bands and balls, and healing journals.

“Through these gestures, we are telling our elderly patients that we value them as a person without using words,” said Mandy Salzedo, R.N., who trains the students.

The training has been expanded to four units in the hospital, including the Emergency Dept. The nursing volunteers come from schools like Concordia University, West Coast University, and Golden West College. In the future, we hope to bring the program to our sister campus in Fountain Valley, MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center.

With this program, I am able to take the time to sit with patients, attentively listen, and find out how I can help them right at that moment.

Lisa Warfe, Nursing Student, Concordia University, HELP Volunteer