Kettering University students will get hands-on experience treating patients as volunteers in a program at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan.
Partnering with the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) at Hurley, pre-med students will work with patients who are 70 and older to prevent delirium. Delirium is a rapid onset of cognitive, physical and emotional impairment.
The new volunteer program within HELP is a natural addition to Kettering and Hurley’s partnership, said Ruba Mahfouz-Alkotob, Hospital Elder Life Program Director at Hurley Medical Center. Hurley employs Kettering pre-med students as medical scribes, and Industrial Engineering students have helped the hospital create with a traffic study and helped the hospital plan ways to be more organized and efficient in the operating rooms. When brainstorming ideas for HELP volunteers, Hurley immediately thought of Kettering students, she said.
“We appreciate the high-quality and professionalism of Kettering University students,” Mahfouz-Alkotob said.
Students are undergoing training to prepare for volunteering. Their duties include socialization with patients, therapeutic exercises and games, exercise regimens, walking assistance, sleep protocol, providing hearing and vision adaptations and equipment, assistance with meals and promoting hydration, among others. Brandon Bedsole ’19 said students practiced assistance with meals by feeding one another applesauce.
“My hope is that students gain real life and professional skills as they volunteer for HELP,” Mahfouz-Alkotob said. “Each time a HELP volunteer visits with our patients, they polish their communication skills, hone in on their observation skills, practice good bedside manner, learn active listening and get accustomed to documentation and note-taking, just to name a few benefits.”
Although Bedsole, who is majoring in Biochemistry, has interactions with patients as a medical scribe at OrthoMichigan in Flint, this is the first role he’ll have directly administering care. He wants to learn about having the right bedside manner in delicate situations and seeing the impact he can have while he’s helping patients with dementia.
“It’s a good program to get exposed to right kinds of patient care,” he said. “The overall well-being of the patient is most important.”
Bedsole plans to become a physician and work in emergency medicine, he said, and the HELP program will teach him how to maintain a pleasant demeanor as he works with patients who don’t want to be at the hospital.
Dayaan Ghani ’20, a Biochemistry major, took the training and will volunteer with the program in the future. While he works at Hurley as a resident team assistant for his co-op, HELP is an opportunity for him to develop more one-to-one interaction with patients. Medicine is one of the best ways to improve the livelihood and well-being of others, he said.
“We help them come out of the hospital feeling better than they did before they came in,” he said.
Any students interested in volunteering with HELP can contact Mahfouz-Alkotob at firstname.lastname@example.org or 810-262-6961