Banner Health looking for volunteers as staff is stretched thin due to COVID-19 pandemic

Officials with Banner Health say there is an urgent need for volunteers to help frontline workers amid the ongoing and worsening COVID-19 pandemic.

Jeanne Ackerley is a volunteer. She says she wants to help in any way she can.

"A little retail therapy some days can go a long way!" said Ackerley.

Ackerley volunteers at the gift shop at Banner Baywood Medical Center, which has been transformed for medical workers to be a step away from what happens in the ICU.

"For the staff, it is an oasis," said Ackerley. "They get a break. They can take a break from the treatment and come on down to the gift shop. A lot of the staff did Christmas shopping at the boutique."

Banner Health officials say more volunteers are needed as ICUs are 70% fuller this year compared to last.

"To both assist us in the care settings like the hospitals, as well to assist us in those three vaccination sites that we currently have open in the State of Arizona," said Marjorie Bessel, Chief Clinical Officer of Banner Health. "It takes hundreds of individuals each and every day to deliver those vaccines."

Volunteers need to be under 65 with no health complications, and they will go through training and safety protocols. Banner officials also say volunteering could also make someone eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, alongside healthcare workers.

"That includes physicians staff, redeployed staff, and volunteers," said Bessel. "If you’re working in a care environment, where patients are, you are eligible to receive the vaccine."

"As soon as we walk into the building everyday, we are in a COVID facility, so I think it’s great the vaccine would be available to volunteers," said Ackerley.

Banner officials say specifically, they are looking for housekeepers, runners, and screeners.

Banner Health Short Term Hospital Volunteers