Healthcare workers experience mental health problems during and after pandemics

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Re: Healthcare workers experience mental health problems during and after pandemics

Post by trader32176 »

Healthcare workers say they need mental health services, but many aren't getting them

4/7/21 ... FF/597916/

Dive Brief:

More than 60% of frontline healthcare workers say the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health, according to a national survey published Tuesday from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Washington Post.
About 13% of those surveyed reported accessing mental health services or medications while 18% said they needed such services but didn't get them. Those who didn't get help cited being too busy or unable to get time off work, feeling afraid or embarrassed or not being able to afford it.
Another recent survey from the American Association of International Healthcare Recruitment found that nearly 80% of registered nurses said the pandemic strained staffing in their unit to "unsafe levels."

Dive Insight:

The latest polling adds to a pile of research on healthcare workers' struggles with pandemic-induced burnout. It's taking a toll on their mental health, especially among such workers who often feel stigmatized when seeking treatment. The stress from COVID-19 has been particularly hard on female providers and those in critical care and infectious disease specialties.

The exhaustion of staff as well as some getting sick themselves has led hospitals to hire record levels of temporary nurses at increased rates. They are also taking measures like redeploying office staff to clinical areas and cross-training employees when possible.

The fear of burnout led the Joint Commission to issue a bulletin encouraging providers to offer more mental healthcare access to staff along with fostering more open and transparent communication.

The KFF and Washington Post survey is based on interviews from 1,327 healthcare workers employed by hospitals, doctors' offices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and other facilities across the U.S. from February through early March. It includes a comparison survey of 971 adults across the U.S. not working in healthcare settings.

Pandemic-related stress led roughly half of respondents to report problems sleeping, while 31% reported frequent headaches or stomach aches, according to the report. Also, 16% said they've increased their drug or alcohol use, and about half say they've experienced at least one of those three issues.

Fear of exposure and bringing the virus home to family members has been the hardest part of working through the pandemic for about 21% of the survey's respondents, while having to wear additional masks and personal protective equipment was cited by 16%.

Fewer said safety protocols and precautionary measures, being overworked with long hours and lack of time off have been the most difficult part.

While more than half of healthcare workers overall said the pandemic harmed their mental health, younger workers have been the hardest hit.

More than 70% of respondents younger than 30 years old said the pandemic negatively impacted their mental health and 69% said they feel burned out at work. Among that younger cohort, 13% said they had at least 10 patients in their direct care who died as a result of the virus.

Other responses from the survey further illustrate the gravity of COVID-19 surges that occurred throughout the country last year.

Among those working in hospitals, 56% said their intensive-care units were over capacity at some point during the pandemic. In both hospitals and nursing homes, 34% said they ran out of personal protective equipment at some point.

Such conditions also strained staffing levels, according to the AAIHR survey of more than 1,000 RNs across the U.S. taken from March 9 to March 26. Nearly 60% said they knew a nurse in their unit or hospital who was exposed to COVID-19 on the job and became seriously ill. About 20% said they knew a fellow nurse who died from the virus.

In the KFF survey, respondents expressed mixed sentiments about their jobs going forward. While more than three-quarters said they feel hopeful when going to work, about half said they also feel burned out or anxious. More than half said they think the pandemic will abate and normal life will return, but not until early 2022 or later.
Posts: 2526
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:22 am

Re: Healthcare workers experience mental health problems during and after pandemics

Post by trader32176 »

Frontline health workers experienced unprecedented levels of stress during the pandemic

4/9/21 ... demic.aspx

During the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency department doctors, nurses and other frontline staff experienced unprecedented levels of stress and emotional exhaustion that included nightmares or insomnia, according to a UC San Francisco-led study of emergency departments across the country.

The study, among the first to assess mental health effects of the pandemic at a geographically diverse sample of emergency rooms, found that nearly one-fifth of the ER staff were at elevated risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The study also reported that regular testing for COVID-19 helped to reduce stress among emergency personnel, particularly for those with previous positive antibody results.

The results are published April 9, 2021, in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

" As the nation moves into what many believe is a fourth wave of COVID, this study is important to our understanding of the impact of the pandemic on the mental well-being of frontline medical personnel."

- Robert M. Rodriguez, MD, Lead Author, Professor of Emergency Medicine, UCSF

"We found that feelings of work-related anxiety, emotional exhaustion and burnout were prevalent across the full spectrum of emergency department staff," Rodriguez said. "Early recognition of the signs of stress, burnout, anxiety is critical. Emergency department personnel serve as the initial hospital caregivers for the majority of critically ill patients with known or suspected COVID-19 infection. Protecting and maintaining the health of the emergency department workforce is imperative in the ongoing battle against COVID-19."

The study was conducted between May and July 2020, using electronic surveys to document self-reported symptoms before and after serologic testing for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.

Some 1,600 physicians, nurses, advanced practice providers, social workers and other personnel at 20 emergency departments took part. This included hospitals in San Francisco and Los Angeles, New York, New Orleans, Miami and Orlando, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Denver, Baltimore, Birmingham, Iowa City, Dallas.

Participants had not previously been diagnosed with COVID-19. After the initial survey, they underwent serial nasal swab PCR and serum antibody tests, then completed a follow-up survey.

Participants said their greatest concerns included exposing their family members or others in their community. They also voiced strong concerns about the well-being of co-workers diagnosed with COVID-19, and of patients with an unclear diagnosis who might expose others in their community.

"Considering the relatively high levels of burnout symptoms, and that more than half of participants reported experiencing at least one symptom of PTSD and as many as 20 percent were at higher risk, employers should encourage workers to take time off, get adequate rest and utilize available well-being resources," said Rodriguez.

The researchers had previously reported moderate to severe stress levels during the pandemic, but that study was limited to academic emergency medicine physicians in California, New Jersey and Louisiana. In one difference between the studies, researchers found that personal protective equipment (PPE) was no longer among the top five listed worries in the later study, suggesting that PPE became more widely available.


University of California - San Francisco
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Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:22 am

Re: Healthcare workers experience mental health problems during and after pandemics

Post by trader32176 »

Critical care nurses in poor physical and mental health report more medical errors

5/4/21 ... rrors.aspx

A study led by The Ohio State University College of Nursing finds that critical care nurses in poor physical and mental health reported significantly more medical errors than nurses in better health.

The study, which was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic, also found that "nurses who perceived that their worksite was very supportive of their well-being were twice as likely to have better physical health."

"Critical Care Nurses' Physical and Mental Health, Worksite Wellness Support, and Medical Errors" is published in the American Journal of Critical Care.

"It's critically important that we understand some of the root causes that lead to those errors and do everything we can to prevent them," said lead author Bernadette Melnyk. She serves as vice president for health promotion, chief wellness officer and dean of the College of Nursing at Ohio State.

The authors quoted research on the prevalence of stress, anxiety, depression and burnout symptoms among critical care nurses as a basis for examining the potential correlation between well-being and medical errors. The study surveyed nearly 800 members of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.

" It's clear that critical care nurses, like so many other clinicians, cannot continue to pour from an empty cup. System problems that contribute to burnout and poor health need to be fixed. Nurses need support and investment in evidence-based programming and resources that enhance their well-being and equip them with resiliency so they can take optimal care of patients."

- Bernadette Melnyk, Lead Author

Study findings included:

Of those surveyed, 61% reported suboptimal physical health, while 51% reported suboptimal mental health.

Approximately 40% screened positive for depressive symptoms, and more than 50% screened positive for anxiety.

Those who reported worse health and well-being had between a 31% to 62% higher likelihood of making medical errors.

Nurses who reported working in places that provided greater support for wellness were more than twice as likely to have better personal health and professional quality of life compared with those whose workplace provided little or no support.

The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center has several programs to promote clinician well-being, including its employee assistance program, which offers confidential mental health resources and services such as counseling, mindfulness coaching and its Stress, Trauma and Resilience (STAR) Program that offers the Buckeye Paws pet therapy program to promote building coping and resilience skills.

The authors mention that levels of stress, anxiety and depression are likely even higher in the current environment than before the pandemic, when the study was conducted.

"The major implication of this study's findings for hospital leaders and policymakers is that critical care nurses whose well-being is supported by their organizations are more likely to be fully engaged in patient care and make fewer medical errors, resulting in better patient outcomes and more lives saved," the researchers wrote.


American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN)

Journal reference:

Melnyk, B.M., et al. (2021) Critical Care Nurses’ Physical and Mental Health, Worksite Wellness Support, and Medical Errors. American Journal of Critical Care.
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