Psychological impact on healthcare workers of responding to disease outbreaks

Added June 9, 2020

Citation: Vyas KJ, Delaney EM, Webb-Murphy JA, Johnston SL. Psychological impact of deploying in support of the US response to Ebola: a systematic review and meta-analysis of past outbreaks. Military medicine. 2016 Nov 1;181(11-12):e1515-31.

What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic is placing a strain on healthcare workers. Existing research on the psychological impact of infectious disease outbreaks on healthcare workers may provide useful information for policy makers.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for studies of the psychological impact on healthcare workers of responding to disease outbreaks, to try to elucidate the potential impact on people deploying in support of the US response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. They restricted their searches to studies published in English between January 2000 and December 2014. They included 32 studies of various designs (total: 26,869 patients).

What was found: Increased risks for psychological distress, alcohol/drug misuse, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety as a result of their perceived risk of infection, were found for

healthcare workers responding to disease outbreaks if they were younger, single, not living with family, had fewer years of work experience, were less educated, and had lower income.

 

Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the coronavirus (COVID-19) but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the basis of this summary alone.

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