Psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it in COVID-19

Added March 26, 2020

Citation: Brooks SK, Webster RK, Smith LE, et al. The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence. Lancet 2020; 395: 912-20

What is this? During the COVID-19 pandemic, some people are staying in a dedicated quarantine facility.

In this systematic review, the authors evaluated research on the psychological impact of quarantine and how to alleviate it. They limited their search to articles published in English and Italian in peer-reviewed journals. The review was published in February 2020 but it is unclear when the search was done. They identified 24 relevant studies.

What works: The psychological impact of quarantine can be wide-ranging and long lasting, but voluntary quarantine is associated with less distress and fewer long-term complications.

In situations where quarantine is deemed necessary, people who are quarantined need to be given information to help them understand the situation, including the rationale for quarantine.

Adquate supplies (both general and medical) should be made availale to people in quarantine.

The quarantine period should be as short as possible.

What doesn’t work: Nothing noted.

What’s uncertain: It is uncertain whether other public health measures (such as social distancing, cancellation of mass gatherings, and school closures) are more favourable than quarantine.



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