Aims: Healthcare workers exposed to coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) patients could be psychologically distressed. This study aims to assess the magnitude of psychological distress and associated factors among hospital staff during the COVID-19 pandemic in a large tertiary hospital located in north-east Italy. Methods: All healthcare and administrative staff working in the Verona University Hospital (Veneto, Italy) during the COVID-19 pandemic were asked to complete a web-based survey from 21 April to 6 May 2020. Symptoms of post-traumatic distress, anxiety and depression were assessed, respectively, using the Impact of Event Scale (IES-R), the Self-rating Anxiety Scale (SAS) and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). Personal socio-demographic information and job characteristics were also collected, including gender, age, living condition, having pre-existing psychological problems, occupation, length of working experience, hospital unit (ICUs and sub-intensive COVID-19 units vs. non-COVID-19 units). A multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed to identify factors associated with each of the three mental health outcomes. Results: A total of 2195 healthcare workers (36.9% of the overall hospital staff) participated in the study. Of the participants, 35.7% were nurses, 24.3% other healthcare staff, 16.4% residents, 13.9% physicians and 9.7% administrative staff. Nine per cent of healthcare staff worked in ICUs, 8% in sub-intensive COVID-19 units and 7.6% in other front-line services, while the remaining staff worked in hospital units not directly engaged with COVID-19 patients. Overall, 63.2% of participants reported COVID-related traumatic experiences at work and 53.8% (95% CI 51.0%-56.6%) showed symptoms of post-traumatic distress; moreover, 50.1% (95% CI 47.9%-52.3%) showed symptoms of clinically relevant anxiety and 26.6% (95% CI 24.7%-28.5%) symptoms of at least moderate depression. Multivariable logistic regressions showed that women, nurses, healthcare workers directly engaged with COVID-19 patients and those with pre-existing psychological problems were at increased risk of psychopathological consequences of the pandemic. Conclusions: The psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare staff working in a highly burdened geographical of north-east Italy is relevant and to some extent greater than that reported in China. The study provides solid grounds to elaborate and implement interventions pertaining to psychology and occupational health.

The psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health care workers in a highly burdened area of north-east Italy

Lasalvia, Antonio
;
Bonetto, Chiara;Porru, Stefano;Carta, Angela;Tardivo, Stefano;Bovo, Chiara;Ruggeri, Mirella;Amaddeo, Francesco
2021-01-01

Abstract

Aims: Healthcare workers exposed to coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) patients could be psychologically distressed. This study aims to assess the magnitude of psychological distress and associated factors among hospital staff during the COVID-19 pandemic in a large tertiary hospital located in north-east Italy. Methods: All healthcare and administrative staff working in the Verona University Hospital (Veneto, Italy) during the COVID-19 pandemic were asked to complete a web-based survey from 21 April to 6 May 2020. Symptoms of post-traumatic distress, anxiety and depression were assessed, respectively, using the Impact of Event Scale (IES-R), the Self-rating Anxiety Scale (SAS) and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). Personal socio-demographic information and job characteristics were also collected, including gender, age, living condition, having pre-existing psychological problems, occupation, length of working experience, hospital unit (ICUs and sub-intensive COVID-19 units vs. non-COVID-19 units). A multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed to identify factors associated with each of the three mental health outcomes. Results: A total of 2195 healthcare workers (36.9% of the overall hospital staff) participated in the study. Of the participants, 35.7% were nurses, 24.3% other healthcare staff, 16.4% residents, 13.9% physicians and 9.7% administrative staff. Nine per cent of healthcare staff worked in ICUs, 8% in sub-intensive COVID-19 units and 7.6% in other front-line services, while the remaining staff worked in hospital units not directly engaged with COVID-19 patients. Overall, 63.2% of participants reported COVID-related traumatic experiences at work and 53.8% (95% CI 51.0%-56.6%) showed symptoms of post-traumatic distress; moreover, 50.1% (95% CI 47.9%-52.3%) showed symptoms of clinically relevant anxiety and 26.6% (95% CI 24.7%-28.5%) symptoms of at least moderate depression. Multivariable logistic regressions showed that women, nurses, healthcare workers directly engaged with COVID-19 patients and those with pre-existing psychological problems were at increased risk of psychopathological consequences of the pandemic. Conclusions: The psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare staff working in a highly burdened geographical of north-east Italy is relevant and to some extent greater than that reported in China. The study provides solid grounds to elaborate and implement interventions pertaining to psychology and occupational health.
COVID-19
health workers
mental health
post-traumatic stress
depression
anxiety
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1032845
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