When health professionals look death in the eye: the mental health of professionals who deal daily with the 2019 coronavirus outbreak

Source avec lien : Psychiatry Research, 288, 2020. 10.1016/j.psychres.2020.112972

CONTEXTE : Le fait que le COVID-19 soit transmissible d’homme à homme et associé à une morbidité élevée et potentiellement mortelle peut intensifier la perception de danger personnel. En outre, la pénurie prévisible de fournitures et le flux croissant de cas suspects et réels de COVID-19 contribuent aux pressions et aux préoccupations des professionnels de la santé.

BACKGROUND: The fact that COVID-19 is transmissible from human to human and associated with high morbidity and potentially fatality can intensify the perception of personal danger. In addition, the foreseeable shortage of supplies and an increasing flow of suspected and real cases of COVID-19 contribute to the pressures and concerns of health professionals. METHOD: The studies were identified in well-known international journals found in two electronic databases: Scopus and Embase. The data were cross-checked with information from the main international newspapers. RESULTS: Work-related stress is a potential cause of concern for health professionals. It has been associated with anxiety including multiple clinical activities, depression in the face of the coexistence of countless deaths, long work shifts with the most diverse unknowns and demands in the treatment with patients with COVID-19. Therefore, it is an important indicator of psychic exhaustion. CONCLUSIONS: As coronavirus cases increase and deaths surge in Italy, new figures show an « enormous » level of contagion among the country’s medical personnel. At least 2,629 health workers have been infected with coronavirus since the outbreak onset in February, representing 8.3% of total cases. The percentage of infected health workers has almost doubled the number registered in China throughout the epidemic. Intensive care unit physicians are on their stress limit, especially when dealing with older patients and with death prospects. Doctors, not a relative, are inevitably the last people a dying COVID-19 patient will see.

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