xi's moments
Home | Europe

Trauma of COVID-19 care revealed by study

By JONATHAN POWELL in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-01-14 09:34

Medical staff found to have suffered from myriad health problems during pandemic 

New research in the United Kingdom has highlighted the profound impact that COVID-19 has had on the mental health of frontline healthcare staff with almost half of those working in England's intensive care units (ICU) reporting symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety or depression.

Scientists from King's College London questioned more than 700 workers from nine National Health Service (NHS) hospitals with an anonymous web-based survey between June and July, when infection rates were relatively low.

Published in the journal Occupational Health, the study was made up of 291 doctors, 344 nurses and 74 healthcare workers in other roles, who were asked how they were coping as the first wave eased.

More than half reported good well-being, although the results showed 45 percent "met the threshold" for severe depression or anxiety, PTSD or problem drinking.

One in eight (13 percent) reported frequently having "thoughts of self-harm" or that they would be "better off dead" in the two weeks before the survey.

The survey showed that nursing staff are more likely to report higher levels of distress than doctors or other clinical staff.

The study noted that although ICU staff are often exposed to traumatic situations as part of their job, since the start of the pandemic, hospital employees have frequently spoken of the emotional burden of treating critically-ill patients.

It added that "frontline healthcare staff experience myriad psychological stressors, including fears of contracting the virus and endangering their loved ones… and distress relating to adverse patient outcomes and loss of patient lives despite their best efforts." Many have been on record saying they endure exhaustion and manage sores from wearing their personal protective equipment.

"The severity of symptoms we identified are highly likely to impair some ICU staff's ability to provide high-quality care, as well as negatively impacting on their quality of life," said lead author of the study, Neil Greenberg.

"Whilst these results are in some ways not surprising, they should serve as a stark reminder to NHS managers of the pressing need to protect the mental health of ICU workers now in order to ensure they can deliver vital care to those in need," said Greenberg.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that vaccinations to protect against COVID-19 would be offered 24 hours a day to speed up the rollout across the nation.

The BBC reported that this was in response to comments that the nationwide vaccination drive is being hampered because the supply to the treatment centers is inconsistent and often arrives at short notice. Johnson said the constraint is not related to the distribution network but to the supply.

The Guardian has reported that thousands of hospital patients in the UK are set to be discharged early to hotels or even care homes, to free up beds for the most seriously ill COVID-19 patients.

It said the Best Western hotel chain has already started taking in patients from King's College Hospital and could end up providing 5,000 beds.

Senior sources from within the NHS told the paper that the move was to create "extra emergency contingency capacity" and to prevent "parts of the NHS collapsing".It comes as concern grows that hospitals across the country will soon be overwhelmed.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times reported that UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is "fiercely resisting" tightening lockdown measures in sectors such as the housing market, construction and manufacturing.

Guidelines published last week put house buyers and sellers on notice that the government may shut down the market, a move the prime minister has not ruled out.

Sunak said he wants to keep factories, building sites and the housing market functioning during the pandemic, saying current measures are already causing "significant" economic harm, and that the situation "is going to get worse before it gets better".

The Bank of England's governor has warned the UK economy is facing its "darkest hour" due the latest COVID-19 lockdown, which is likely to delay the recovery.

Andrew Bailey played down suggestions that cutting interest rates below zero would be a straightforward way to boost growth. He said the UK would bounce back, but only after the lockdown had ended and concerns about the spread of the virus had receded.


Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349