The experience of European hospital-based health care workers on following infection prevention and control procedures for COVID-19
van Hout D., Hutchinson P., Wanat M., Pilbeam C., Goossens H., Anthierens S., Tonkin-Crine S., Gobat N.
ABSTRACT Background Working under pandemic conditions exposes health care workers (HCWs) to infection risk and psychological strain. Protecting the physical and psychological health of HCWs is a key priority. This study assessed the perceptions of European hospital HCWs of local infection prevention and control (IPC) procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on their emotional wellbeing. Methods We performed two rounds of an international cross-sectional survey, between 31 March and 17 April 2020 via existing research networks (round 1), and between 14 May and 31 August 2020 via online convenience sampling (round 2). Main outcome measures were (1) behavioural determinants of HCW adherence with IPC procedures, (2) WHO-5 Well-Being Index, a validated scale of 0-100 reflecting emotional wellbeing. The WHO-5 was interpreted as a score below or above 50 points, a cut-off score used in previous literature to screen for depression. Results 2,289 HCWs (round 1: n=190, round 2: n=2,099) from 40 countries in Europe participated. Mean age of respondents was 42 (±11) years, 66% were female, 47% and 39% were medical doctors and nurses, respectively. 74% (n=1699) of HCWs were directly treating patients with COVID-19, of which 32% (n=527) reported they were fearful of caring for these patients. HCWs reported high levels of concern about COVID-19 infection risk to themselves (71%) and their family (82%) as a result of their job. 40% of HCWs considered that getting infected with COVID-19 was not within their control. This was more common among junior than senior HCWs (46% versus 38%, P value Conclusions In Europe, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a differential impact on those providing direct COVID-19 patient care, junior staff and women. Health facilities must be aware of these differential impacts, build trust and provide tailored support for this vital workforce during the current COVID-19 pandemic.