Psychological Assessment of Health Care Workers in Intensive Care Units During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Keywords:Fear, Depression, COVID-19, Healthcare, Workers, Pakistan
Fear and depression are common to any pandemic particularly in healthcare workers as they are in the front line to treat the diseased. Such a state directly affects the performance of the health system and the patients who are seeking care. This study aimed at assessing the psychological effect of COVID-19 among the healthcare workers in the intensive care units of two tertiary care hospitals of Rawalpindi & Islamabad.
It was a descriptive cross-sectional study, conducted over five months i.e., 1st July 2020 to 1st November 2020. Non-probability consecutive sampling technique was used for recruiting health care workers. PHQ-9 tool was used including 9 questions (items) related to the depression due to COVID-19. Other tool Fear of COVID-19 scale was based on 5 points Likert scale as ‘strongly disagree’, ‘disagree’, ‘neutral’, ‘agree’ and ‘strongly agree’. Besides descriptive frequencies, mean and standard deviation, Spearman correlation (r) was applied to check the correlation between fear of COVID-19 with age (years) and professional experience (years).
Out of 382 healthcare workers (doctors, nurses & other staff) recruited in the study, around 50% were found to be suffering from severe depression and have developed a fear of the disease. A significant positive correlation was observed between the age of the healthcare worker and the degree of fear of COVID-19 (p<0.05). Similarly, a significant positive correlation was observed between the number of professional experience and the fear of COVID-19 (p<0.05).
It is concluded that healthcare workers in ICU are at risk of depression because of fear of COVID-19. The current situation highlights the areas that need attention. Special training or orientation must be arranged for a situation of an outbreak or a pandemic and skills for keeping one’s psychological wellbeing and mental health must be imparted.
KEYWORDS: Fear; Depression; Psychological impact; COVID-19, Healthcare workers, Pakistan
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