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Front Psychiatry ; 13: 863232, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1928450


Healthcare workers (HCWs) and public safety personnel (PSP) across the globe have continued to face ethically and morally challenging situations during the COVID-19 pandemic that increase their risk for the development of moral distress (MD) and moral injury (MI). To date, however, the global circumstances that confer risk for MD and MI in these cohorts have not been systematically explored, nor have the unique circumstances that may exist across countries been explored. Here, we sought to identify and compare, across the globe, potentially morally injurious or distressful events (PMIDEs) in HCWs and PSP during the COVID-19 pandemic. A scoping review was conducted to identify and synthesize global knowledge on PMIDEs in HCWs and select PSP. Six databases were searched, including MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science, PsychInfo, CINAHL, and Global Health. A total of 1,412 articles were retrieved, of which 57 articles were included in this review. These articles collectively described the experiences of samples from 19 different countries, which were comprised almost exclusively of HCWs. Given the lack of PSP data, the following results should not be generalized to PSP populations without further research. Using qualitative content analysis, six themes describing circumstances associated with PMIDEs were identified: (1) Risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19; (2) Inability to work on the frontlines; (3) Provision of suboptimal care; (4) Care prioritization and resource allocation; (5) Perceived lack of support and unfair treatment by their organization; and (6) Stigma, discrimination, and abuse. HCWs described a range of emotions related to these PMIDEs, including anxiety, fear, guilt, shame, burnout, anger, and helplessness. Most PMIDE themes appeared to be shared globally, particularly the 'Risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19' and the 'Perceived lack of support and unfair treatment by their organization.' Articles included within the theme of 'Stigma, discrimination, and abuse' represented the smallest global distribution of all PMIDE themes. Overall, the present review provides insight into PMIDEs encountered by HCWs across the globe during COVID-19. Further research is required to differentiate the experience of PSP from HCWs, and to explore the impact of social and cultural factors on the experience of MD and MI.

Frontiers in psychiatry ; 12, 2021.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1728114


The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a still-unfolding series of novel, potentially traumatic moral and ethical challenges that place many healthcare workers at risk of developing moral injury. Moral injury is a type of psychological response that may arise when one transgresses or witnesses another transgress deeply held moral values, or when one feels that an individual or institution that has a duty to provide care has failed to do so. Despite knowledge of this widespread exposure, to date, empirical data are scarce as to how to prevent and, where necessary, treat COVID-19-related moral injury in healthcare workers. Given the relation between moral injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), we point here to social and interpersonal factors as critical moderators of PTSD symptomology and consider how this knowledge may translate to interventions for COVID-19-related moral injury. Specifically, we first review alterations in social cognitive functioning observed among individuals with PTSD that may give rise to interpersonal difficulties. Drawing on Nietlisbach and Maercker's 2009 work on interpersonal factors relevant to survivors of trauma with PTSD, we then review the role of perceived social support, social acknowledgment and social exclusion in relation to potential areas of targeted intervention for COVID-19-related moral injury in healthcare workers. Finally, building on existing literature (e.g., Phoenix Australia—Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health and the Canadian Centre of Excellence—PTSD, 2020) we conclude with individual and organizational considerations to bolster against the development of moral injury in healthcare workers during the pandemic.