Volunteers help ease the load for nurses as hospitalizations rise


DENVER (KDVR) — As hospitalizations continue to rise, more and more is being asked of area nurses.

But a volunteer program at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver is helping to ease the load and bring some comfort to patients at the same time.

“I do whatever the nurses need,” said volunteer Jill White.

Pre-COVID, more than 400 volunteers worked there, but that all stopped in 2020. The program is now back up and running, with about 100 volunteers so far.

Volunteers can help nurses with non-medical tasks like getting supplies, helping a patient with a blanket or wheeling a patient out for discharge.

Rev. Michael Guthrie is the chaplain and the director of the volunteer program.

“Obviously with everything that is going on right now in our facilities, with just some of the demands that are on the nurses, it really is allowing them to be freed up to focus on the nursing tasks that they really need to address and allow those volunteers to support them,” Guthrie said.

Nurses like Hannah Hafner say it’s meaningful.

“We can focus on more the nursing care,” she said. 

In a unique part of the program, volunteers are now given a mobile device so that patients and nurses on their unit can contact them right away.

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