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1.
Australas Psychiatry ; 30(2): 212-222, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1741845

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: This longitudinal study examined changes in psychological outcomes of perioperative frontline healthcare workers at one of Australia's most COVID-19 affected hospitals, following the surge and decline of a pandemic wave. METHOD: A single-centred longitudinal online survey was conducted between 26 May and 17 November 2020. Recruitment was via poster advertisement and email invitation. The survey was sent out every 4 weeks, resulting in seven time-points. RESULTS: In total, 385 survey results were analysed from 193 staff (about 64% response rate), 72 (37%) of whom completed the survey more than once. The prevalence of moderate-to-severe anxiety and depressive symptoms peaked at 27% and 25%, respectively, during the pandemic surge. Up to 35% displayed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Although not statistically significant, the trend of depressive and PTSD symptoms worsened over time, especially among females and anaesthetic/surgical trainees, despite subsidence of the pandemic curve. Technicians and anaesthetic/scrub nurses were the at-risk groups with worst psychological outcomes. CONCLUSION: We found persistent mental health impacts on frontline perioperative HCWs despite subsidence of the pandemic wave. Further research is needed to determine the extent and trajectory of such impacts with larger sample sizes to determine generalisability to frontline HCWs in general.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Australia/epidemiology , Delivery of Health Care , Depression/epidemiology , Female , Health Personnel/psychology , Hospitals, Public , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , SARS-CoV-2
2.
JMIR Perioper Med ; 4(2): e27166, 2021 Sep 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1443950

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has presented immeasurable challenges to health care workers who remain at the frontline of the pandemic. A rapidly evolving body of literature has quantitatively demonstrated significant psychological impacts of the pandemic on health care workers. However, little is known about the lived experience of the pandemic for frontline medical staff. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to explore the qualitative experience of perioperative staff from a large trauma hospital in Melbourne, Australia. METHODS: Inductive thematic analysis using a critical realist approach was used to analyze data from 9 semistructured interviews. RESULTS: Four key themes were identified. Hospital preparedness related to the perceived readiness of the hospital to respond to the pandemic and encompassed key subthemes around communication of policy changes, team leadership, and resource availability. Perceptions of readiness contributed to the perceived psychological impacts of the pandemic, which were highly varied and ranged from anger to anxiety. A number of coping strategies were identified in response to psychological impacts which incorporated both internal and external coping mechanisms. Finally, adaptation with time reflected change and growth over time, and encompassed all other themes. CONCLUSIONS: While frontline staff and hospitals have rapidly marshalled a response to managing the virus, relatively less consideration was seen regarding staff mental health in our study. Findings highlight the vulnerability of health care workers in response to the pandemic and reinforce the need for a coordinated approach to managing mental health.

3.
Gen Psychiatr ; 34(5): e100577, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1405225

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had a profound and prolonged impact on healthcare services and healthcare workers. AIMS: The Australian COVID-19 Frontline Healthcare Workers Study aimed to investigate the severity and prevalence of mental health issues, as well as the social, workplace and financial disruptions experienced by Australian healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: A nationwide, voluntary, anonymous, single timepoint, online survey was conducted between 27 August and 23 October 2020. Individuals self-identifying as frontline healthcare workers in secondary or primary care were invited to participate. Participants were recruited through health organisations, professional associations or colleges, universities, government contacts and national media. Demographics, home and work situation, health and psychological well-being data were collected. RESULTS: A total of 9518 survey responses were received; of the 9518 participants, 7846 (82.4%) participants reported complete data. With regard to age, 4110 (52.4%) participants were younger than 40 years; 6344 (80.9%) participants were women. Participants were nurses (n=3088, 39.4%), doctors (n=2436, 31.1%), allied health staff (n=1314, 16.7%) or in other roles (n=523, 6.7%). In addition, 1250 (15.9%) participants worked in primary care. Objectively measured mental health symptoms were common: mild to severe anxiety (n=4694, 59.8%), moderate to severe burnout (n=5458, 70.9%) and mild to severe depression (n=4495, 57.3%). Participants were highly resilient (mean (SD)=3.2 (0.66)). Predictors for worse outcomes on all scales included female gender; younger age; pre-existing psychiatric condition; experiencing relationship problems; nursing, allied health or other roles; frontline area; being worried about being blamed by colleagues and working with patients with COVID-19. CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic is associated with significant mental health symptoms in frontline healthcare workers. Crisis preparedness together with policies and practices addressing psychological well-being are needed.

4.
Gen Hosp Psychiatry ; 72: 124-130, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1364025

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The Australian COVID-19 Frontline Healthcare Workers Study investigated coping strategies and help-seeking behaviours, and their relationship to mental health symptoms experienced by Australian healthcare workers (HCWs) during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: Australian HCWs were invited to participate a nationwide, voluntary, anonymous, single time-point, online survey between 27th August and 23rd October 2020. Complete responses on demographics, home and work situation, and measures of health and psychological wellbeing were received from 7846 participants. RESULTS: The most commonly reported adaptive coping strategies were maintaining exercise (44.9%) and social connections (31.7%). Over a quarter of HCWs (26.3%) reported increased alcohol use which was associated with a history of poor mental health and worse personal relationships. Few used psychological wellbeing apps or sought professional help; those who did were more likely to be suffering from moderate to severe symptoms of mental illness. People living in Victoria, in regional areas, and those with children at home were significantly less likely to report adaptive coping strategies. CONCLUSIONS: Personal, social, and workplace predictors of coping strategies and help-seeking behaviour during the pandemic were identified. Use of maladaptive coping strategies and low rates of professional help-seeking indicate an urgent need to understand the effectiveness of, and the barriers and enablers of accessing, different coping strategies.


Subject(s)
Adaptation, Psychological , COVID-19 , Health Personnel , Pandemics , Psychological Distress , Adult , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/psychology , COVID-19/therapy , Female , Health Personnel/psychology , Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data , Help-Seeking Behavior , Humans , Male , Mental Disorders/epidemiology , Middle Aged , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
5.
JMIR Perioper Med ; 4(2): e27166, 2021 Sep 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1341581

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has presented immeasurable challenges to health care workers who remain at the frontline of the pandemic. A rapidly evolving body of literature has quantitatively demonstrated significant psychological impacts of the pandemic on health care workers. However, little is known about the lived experience of the pandemic for frontline medical staff. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to explore the qualitative experience of perioperative staff from a large trauma hospital in Melbourne, Australia. METHODS: Inductive thematic analysis using a critical realist approach was used to analyze data from 9 semistructured interviews. RESULTS: Four key themes were identified. Hospital preparedness related to the perceived readiness of the hospital to respond to the pandemic and encompassed key subthemes around communication of policy changes, team leadership, and resource availability. Perceptions of readiness contributed to the perceived psychological impacts of the pandemic, which were highly varied and ranged from anger to anxiety. A number of coping strategies were identified in response to psychological impacts which incorporated both internal and external coping mechanisms. Finally, adaptation with time reflected change and growth over time, and encompassed all other themes. CONCLUSIONS: While frontline staff and hospitals have rapidly marshalled a response to managing the virus, relatively less consideration was seen regarding staff mental health in our study. Findings highlight the vulnerability of health care workers in response to the pandemic and reinforce the need for a coordinated approach to managing mental health.

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