Table 1: The description of a multicomponent standardized intervention.

In-hospital complications risk factorIntervention delivered by the volunteersExamples of actions undertaken by the volunteers

DisorientationStrategies aimed at time, place, and situation reorientation and cognitive stimulationTime reorientation: volunteers used calendars and clocks in order to show the current date and time
Place reorientation: volunteers explained to patients spatial arrangement of the hospital
Volunteers accompanied patients’ walks around a ward to present spatial organization of hospital rooms and available services
Situation reorientation: volunteers discussed with patients their current situation
Cognitive stimulation: volunteers read newspapers loudly to the patients and discussed ongoing events with them
If applicable, volunteers discussed some problems with patients’ caregivers and encouraged them to perform similar intervention

Psychological distressStrategies aimed at reducing patients’ psychological distressVolunteers discussed with patients their current situation and their needs and concerns to build trusted relationship and to obtain an insight into patients’ preferences and feelings related to the ongoing hospitalization; volunteers accompanied and supported patients and arranged conversation, recreation, and relaxation
If applicable, volunteers discussed some problems with patients’ caregivers and encouraged them to perform similar intervention

ImmobilityStrategies aimed at reducing the time of patients’ immobilityVolunteers explained to patients and their caregivers potential benefits of physical activity and disadvantages of restricted mobility; volunteers encouraged and accompanied patients during their walks around a ward; if patients presented any mobility problems, volunteers assisted them with walking aids or wheelchairs or tried to mobilize them at the bedside
If applicable, volunteers discussed with patients the reasons for limiting their physical activity and tried to address the obstacles
If applicable, volunteers discussed some problems with patients’ caregivers and encouraged them to perform similar intervention

DehydrationStrategies aimed at improving patients’ state of hydrationVolunteers explained to the patients and their caregivers all the potential benefits of adequate hydration and encouraged patients to drink more; volunteers made sure that patients had water or any beverage close at hand and accessible
If needed they supported patients while drinking and provided them with sippers; if applicable, volunteers discussed some problems with patients’ caregivers and encouraged them to perform similar intervention

MalnutritionStrategies aimed at improving patients’ state of nutritionVolunteers explained to patients and their caregivers all the potential benefits of good nutrition; volunteers discussed with patients any problems related to food intake, for example, problems with chewing, swallowing, or loss of appetite, and tried to address them if possible (e.g., ask caregivers to provide patients with dentures); when needed, they assisted patients with cutting food and bringing it into the patients’ mouth with fork or spoon
If applicable, volunteers discussed some problems with patients’ caregivers and encouraged them to perform similar intervention

Sensory deprivationStrategies aimed at improving patients’ vision and hearingVolunteers checked whether patients had their eyeglasses and hearing aids accessible
Volunteers found out whether patients needed eyeglasses or hearing aids and informed patients’ family when they were needed to be delivered to hospital; volunteers provided the patients with magnifiers for reading and showed them how to use bedside lamps for reading in the evening
If applicable, volunteers discussed some problems with patients’ caregivers and encouraged them to perform similar intervention

Sleep problemsStrategies aimed at improving patients’ sleep quality and quantityVolunteers educated patients on the basic elements of sleep hygiene; all the patients were advised to avoid naps during the day and were asked about any sleep related problems
If applicable, volunteers discussed some problems with patients’ caregivers and encouraged them to perform similar intervention