The Co-Pilot Program at Kendal on Hudson
The Co-Pilot Program was created, designed and implemented by the residents of Kendal on Hudson. It is a support system for residents who must go to the emergency room and do not have a spouse or close friend available to go with them. These people would otherwise have to “fly solo”—thus explaining the program name, which also conveys that the patient is in charge and the Co-Pilot is there only to assist. The program is entirely carried out by resident volunteers who sign up to be on duty as co-pilots for one or more 12-hour periods each month. The Co-Pilots are phoned by our emergency response nurse when he/she sends a resident to Phelps Hospital, assuming the situation is appropriate and with the resident’s specific permission. Co-Pilots can travel in an ambulance with the resident, drive behind the ambulance or, in some cases actually drive the patient to the ER if that is safe. The Co-Pilot remains at the ER with the patient to make phone calls, run errands and provide support and company. The role of a Co-Pilot is to act as a “second ear,” a channel of communication (especially for distant family) and a means to fetch clothing or personal items from the residents’ apartment as requested.
Co-Pilots have provided this service close to 200 times in 9 years of operation, providing a level of support that would otherwise be unobtainable and serves as a way to reduce stress and provide neighborly care to those in need. It is available 24/7 and has never had a failure to respond.
In 2010, the program received recognition and received the Innovation of the Year Award from NYAHSA, New York Association of Homes & Services for the Aging.
Resident Harriet Barnett teaches Spanish to residents and English to staff
Having lived at Kendal for more than 5 years, Harriet volunteers her time teaching English as a second language to a group of staff members whose first language is Spanish. The group meets weekly in Harriet’s apartment to review everyday conversation and phrases in English, and they get homework assignments in writing and conversation.
“It’s been a wonderful experience to improve my English and I didn’t think I could be helped in such a caring and patient way in which Harriet teaches,” says one staff member.
In addition to this class, Harriet teaches Spanish to residents and staff who want to learn the language or brush up on their skills.
“It’s great to live at Kendal where I can continue to do what I love to do, teach to people who want to learn, all in a beautiful setting,” says Harriet.