L.G.CHAN1, P.L.L.TAN1, K.SIM2, G.M.Y.TAN2, K.H.GOH3, P.SU4, K.H.TAN5, E.S.LEE6, S.Y.TAN6, W.P.LIM7, C.H.AW1, Y.Z.GOH8, S.P.SADARAGANI1, A.CHOW1
Tan Tock Seng Hospital1, Institute of Mental Health2, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital3, National Skin Centre4, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital5, NHG Polyclinics6, Woodlands Health7, Dover Park Hospice8
To measure the psychological wellbeing of healthcare workers (HCW) during this COVID-19 pandemic and examine the experiences of the subgroup of participants who were also HCWs during the 2003 SARS epidemic.
Anonymous online survey adapted from a similar study conducted during the SARS epidemic, disseminated from July 2020 to August 2020 to all employees of nine healthcare institutions across Singapore ranging from primary care, community care, tertiary care, and specialized referral centres. The primary outcome measures were the mean and median scores of the 15-item Impact of Events Scale (IES) and the proportion who scored in the moderate/severe range of the scale (>25).
Of 3828 survey returns, 3616 had at least 1 completed item on the questionnaire. The median score on the IES was 15 (IQR 23) and 28.2% of the sample scored in the moderate/severe range. 22.7% of the participants were also HCWs during SARS and more than half of them felt safer and better equipped in the current pandemic. 25.2% of SARS HCWs and 25.9% of non-SARS HCWs had moderate/severe IES scores (p = 0.904). Racial minority groups and living apart from family were independent predictors of high IES regardless of prior SARS epidemic experience. Daily exposure to confirmed or suspect COVID-19 cases increased the odds of high IES for non-SARS HCWs only.
28% of HCWs in our study suffered from significant trauma-related psychological symptoms. Prior exposure to SARS was not protective. We recommend for more trauma-informed support strategies for our HCWs.