Two seniors enjoying America

Show Them You Care

Free, quick tools for establishing a system of patient advocates
for when you or a loved one visits the hospital.

Start A Free Buddy System
Learn More

Our elders play an important role in our society. Our elders are living history books and a have a unique knowledge of America's recent past. They remember the society they fought so hard to protect. But when our elders need turn to the hospital for help, they are being let down. Don't allow your elderly loved one to take an unexplained "turn for the worse" in the hospital.

Advantages of the Buddy System

Doctor wearing stethoscope Ensures healthcare workers are accountable
Medical care document Ensures the presumption for treatment is to live
Caring for elderly person Provides a living witness support team to the incapacitated

Through the Buddy System a team of patient advocates is formed, made up of family and close friends. These advocates record every treatment and interaction between the hospital and the patient.

If you have an elderly loved one, set up a Buddy System NOW. It's best to have it in place BEFORE you need it!


"Survive the hospital — get out alive to recover."


Print the Checklist for Patient Advocates. Recruit family members and/or trustworthy friends who will sign off after reading the checklist.


Complete a Will to Live. This is a legal document that declares your will to live to your healthcare provider(s) and allows you to formally designate your own advocate.


Create a phone tree. Use it to activate the Buddy System, immediately upon going to the hospital.

Attach the Checklist, Will to Live, and Phone Tree to a clipboard, ready to go.
Senior in the hospital with a buddy

Donate to Support Our Senior Outreach

Donate to the Foundation

This is a campaign of the Foundation of Human Understanding, a national non-profit based in Grants Pass, Oregon.
Please support our efforts to ensure attentive care of elders in America and beyond.
This project is supported solely by your donations.


Will I be able to stay with my elderly dad after visiting hours?

While we would like to think that families would not be considered "visitors", and that the hospital would be viewed as the patient's "home away from home", this is often not the case. While more and more hospitals are relaxing their rules on visitation, there is no standard policy or regulation.

There are some hospitals that have "Care Partner" programs where a designated individual is essentially recognized as an extension of the patient in terms of their voice and access to information as well as interaction with the patient's caregivers (providers). I am not certain how widely available this program is nor which hospitals have similar programs in place. If you know the likely hospital that this loved one would go to if hospital care was needed, you may want to call ahead of time and ask them about their policies - and possible work-arounds.

Many hospitals do allow extended "visiting" for immediate family members. Personally, I have stayed overnight with an immediate family member a number of times. Sometimes it required some fierce advocacy for them to allow it. From a practical standpoint, someone staying with a patient can be very helpful to the nursing staff and studies have supported the benefit to patient's recovery time. I would also suggest that if your loved one is able to include a statement in their health care proxy or some other document or even a standalone statement in writing expressing their wishes, it may help you to make it happen, although I have no idea if it would have any legal standing.

What is the ideal number of people that should be part of a Buddy System?

There is no limit to the number of buddies that can be part of a Buddy System. It is important is that each buddy understands his or her responsibility as a buddy, and every buddy should sign off on the Checklist for Patient Advocates and understand the patient's Will to Live. Having a higher number of buddies can be beneficial for longer stays in the hospital because buddies can take shorter turns at the patient's bedside.