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Majority in healthcare say pandemic has hurt their mental health

Article

New poll from Kaiser Family Foundation and The Washington Post details the effects of the pandemic on healthcare workers.

Majority in healthcare say pandemic has hurt their mental health

Healthcare professionals across the country have felt the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic and now more than half say it has affected their mental health.

A poll of more than 1,300 frontline healthcare workers performed by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 62 percent say worry or stress tied to the pandemic has had a negative effect on their mental health while a further 55 percent feel burned out going to work, according to a report from the Post.

Among the top fears facing the respondents are:

  • Fears of infection for themselves, their family members, or patients (21 percent)
  • Wearing personal protective equipment (16 percent)
  • New and changing rules and safety protocols (8 percent)
  • Overwork (7 percent)
  • Observing patients isolated from visitors or family (5 percent)

This tracks with data released consistently over the course of the pandemic by the Larry A. Green Center and the Primary Care Collaborative which has painted a grim picture of primary care under the weight of COVID-19.

The most recent survey found that eight in 10 primary care practices report revenue more than 10 percent below pre-pandemic levels despite 46 percent reporting they’ve added or expanded the services they provide in an effort to prevent patients seeking help from using a hospital or specialty care.

A further three in 10 clinicians report that reimbursement rates do not cover the cost of COVID-19 testing or vaccination. A further third of physicians say they expect to leave primary care within five years and one in three reporting burnout at an all-time high, according to the survey.

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Jennifer N. Lee, MD, FAAFP
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health