The Effect of the HELP Program on Instances of Delirium

The Effect of the HELP Program on Instances of Delirium



Grace Elizabeth Bruns, Natalie G. Narcelles


Presentation: 1:15 p.m.-2:30 p.m., Kennedy Union Ballroom

This project reflects research conducted as part of a course project designed to give students experience in the research process.

Course: MED 480



The University of Dayton partners with Miami Valley Hospital to provide students the opportunity to volunteer with the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP). HELP requires volunteers to assess and gather data on the elder hospital patients’ state of mind. The HELP Program serves to reduce the risk of patients experiencing episodes of delirium, or a sudden state of confusion, throughout their hospital stay. The activities performed with patients include: having a conversation about their daily routine and life in general, asking patients to recall three words, draw a clock and repeat the three words back, and helping the patients to get up and move as best as they can. The focus of this presentation is to determine whether HELP plays a role in preventing the development of delirium. Ten different floors of Miami Valley Hospital will be compared, consisting of five HELP floors and five non-HELP floors. The data is from the year 2021 and includes instances of delirium diagnosed on the non-HELP floors versus HELP floors. The information obtained about the instances of delirium is from Miami Valley’s data on patients diagnosed with delirium during their hospital stay. We hypothesize that there will be a lower occurrence of delirium during hospitalization on the HELP floors than on the non-HELP floors. Previous studies, including one published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, have shown significant reductions in occurrences of delirium diagnosed during a patient’s hospital stay. Both mentally stimulating and physical activities encouraged through HELP, assist in keeping patients alert and oriented.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Course Project

Primary Advisor

Thomas E. Herchline

Primary Advisor's Department

Premedical Programs


Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Good Health and Well-Being

The Effect of the HELP Program on Instances of Delirium