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Psychiatr Serv ; 73(1): 9-17, 2022 01 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1280521


OBJECTIVE: Peer support specialists (PSS) are an integral part of the mental health workforce. The purpose of this study was to better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic affected their employment status and day-to-day work. METHODS: A cross-sectional, online survey was conducted (May-June 2020). Recruitment occurred through the National Association of Peer Specialists and additional snowball sampling. Closed- and open-ended questions sought information about employment status, work tasks, challenges faced by PSS and by individuals they supported, and positive impacts they experienced. RESULTS: A total of 1,280 surveys were analyzed. Nine percent of respondents reported having lost their job as a result of COVID-19. Of these, 65% reported a length of employment of 2 or more years, and 61% reported working 35 hours or less per week. Job tasks changed dramatically, with 73% reporting engagement in new tasks, including increased reliance on technology (N=717), increased coordination of resources (N=123), and COVID-19-related tasks (N=142). Engagement in some support tasks decreased significantly from prepandemic levels, including individual support provision (p<0.001) and group facilitation (p<0.001). Respondents reported significant challenges among individuals they supported, including increased isolation (92%), substance use (67%), housing instability (38%), and food insecurity (64%). Although respondents also reported challenges, satisfaction with organizational and supervisory support was high. Most respondents (73%) reported positive impacts or benefits from the pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: The changing roles and tasks identified in this study have implications for hiring, training, supervising, and supporting peer staff. The peer workforce demonstrated flexibility and commitment to meeting increasing needs.

COVID-19 , Health Workforce , Mental Health , Peer Group , Social Support , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Pandemics , Surveys and Questionnaires , United States
PLoS One ; 16(5): e0251651, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1226903


BACKGROUND: The risk factors associated with the stages of Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) disease progression are not well known. We aim to identify risk factors specific to each state of COVID-19 progression from SARS-CoV-2 infection through death. METHODS AND RESULTS: We included 648,202 participants from the Veteran Affairs Million Veteran Program (2011-). We identified characteristics and 1,809 ICD code-based phenotypes from the electronic health record. We used logistic regression to examine the association of age, sex, body mass index (BMI), race, and prevalent phenotypes to the stages of COVID-19 disease progression: infection, hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, and 30-day mortality (separate models for each). Models were adjusted for age, sex, race, ethnicity, number of visit months and ICD codes, state infection rate and controlled for multiple testing using false discovery rate (≤0.1). As of August 10, 2020, 5,929 individuals were SARS-CoV-2 positive and among those, 1,463 (25%) were hospitalized, 579 (10%) were in ICU, and 398 (7%) died. We observed a lower risk in women vs. men for ICU and mortality (Odds Ratio (95% CI): 0.48 (0.30-0.76) and 0.59 (0.31-1.15), respectively) and a higher risk in Black vs. Other race patients for hospitalization and ICU (OR (95%CI): 1.53 (1.32-1.77) and 1.63 (1.32-2.02), respectively). We observed an increased risk of all COVID-19 disease states with older age and BMI ≥35 vs. 20-24 kg/m2. Renal failure, respiratory failure, morbid obesity, acid-base balance disorder, white blood cell diseases, hydronephrosis and bacterial infections were associated with an increased risk of ICU admissions; sepsis, chronic skin ulcers, acid-base balance disorder and acidosis were associated with mortality. CONCLUSIONS: Older age, higher BMI, males and patients with a history of respiratory, kidney, bacterial or metabolic comorbidities experienced greater COVID-19 severity. Future studies to investigate the underlying mechanisms associated with these phenotype clusters and COVID-19 are warranted.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Veterans Health , Age Factors , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Body Mass Index , COVID-19/mortality , Disease Progression , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Sex Factors , United States/epidemiology , Veterans