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Adapted HELP Program Engages Family Members and Prevents Post-Op Delirium

A new randomized controlled trial in JAMA Internal Medicine has demonstrated the effectiveness of HELP, this time in an adapted, tailored format. This study enrolled 281 surgical patients at a hospital in China and compared a group receiving a tailored version of the HELP program to a group receiving usual care with no HELP program. The tailored HELP program included HELP interventions completed by family members trained by nursing staff. Results demonstrated the effectiveness of this HELP format, as only 2.6% of the group developed delirium while 19.4% of the non-HELP, usual care group developed delirium. And even further, patients who received the tailored HELP program had greater recovery (both mental and physical) one month after surgery compared to the group that did not receive HELP interventions.

This is a very important study, as in China, family members are frequently involved in care of older persons but hospitals often do not utilize volunteers. This study demonstrates that HELP can be adapted to fit a variety of institutional formats.


Read more about the study in this Science Magazine article.