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J Orthop Surg Res ; 15(1): 322, 2020 Aug 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-714453


BACKGROUND: World Health Organization declared coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) a global pandemic on 11 March 2020, after the coronavirus claimed 4628 lives worldwide. Mental health challenges such as making impossible decisions and working under extreme pressures are expected to be faced by frontline healthcare workers who are directly involved in the care of COVID-19 patients. However, we question if significant stress levels might also be observed in a subspecialty musculoskeletal outpatient department, where staff are not first-line care providers of COVID-19 patients. We hypothesize that these healthcare workers also face significant psychological strain, and we aim to objectively determine the prevalence using a validated caregiver strain index. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted in outpatient musculoskeletal clinics in a tertiary hospital in Singapore. We collected basic demographic data and used a 13-question tool adapted from the validated Caregiver Strain Index (CSI) to measure psychological strain in these healthcare workers. Participants were divided into 2 groups depending on the level of strain experienced. RESULTS: A total of 62 healthcare workers volunteered for this study. There were 32 participants (51.6%) who had 7 or more positive responses (group 1) and the remaining 30 participants (48.4%) were allocated to group 2. There were no significant differences between the two groups in terms of demographic data. "Work adjustments" (74.2%), "changes in personal plans" (72.6%), and finding it "confining" (72.6%) garnered the most positive responses in the questionnaire. On the other hand, "financial concerns" garnered the least positive responses (21.0%). CONCLUSION: The protracted duration of the COVID-19 outbreak and its resultant prolonged adjustments can have unintended consequences of wearing down healthcare resources otherwise allocated to chronic and elective conditions. Countries should ensure that measures are put in place to safeguard the mental well-being of our healthcare workers to avoid needing another reactive strategy in this battle against COVID-19.

Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/psychology , Health Personnel/psychology , Orthopedics/trends , Outpatient Clinics, Hospital/trends , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/psychology , Adult , Aged , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Health Personnel/trends , Humans , Male , Mental Health/trends , Middle Aged , Musculoskeletal Diseases/psychology , Musculoskeletal Diseases/therapy , Occupational Exposure/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , SARS-CoV-2 , Singapore/epidemiology , Young Adult