The Psychological Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Health Care Workers in Pontevedra (Spain)

Vicente Alvarez-Perez, Ana Maria Gago-Ageitos*, Javier Vicente-Alba, Carmen Mercedes Garcia-Hijano*, Maria Jose Duran-Maseda and Maria Vidal-Millares

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed Health Care Workers (HCWs) to increased workload and high risk of contagion with a negative impact in their mental health We present a descriptive and observational study performed with a total sample of 306 Health Care Workers (HCWs) in the Pontevedra Area, which include two Hospitals: Hospital do Salnés and Hospital Clinico-Universitario de Pontevedra and Primary Care Health Centers (“Centros de Saúde”: CS and AP, “Puntos de Atención Continuada”: PACS) from 3rd to 16th May 2021.

Aim: To study the psychological impact in healthcare workers in our community, (Pontevedra, 300000 inhabitants).

Method: An online massive survey was administered with “Google Forms”. We performed a battery of sociodemographic and work conditions questions, medical history, psychiatric drugs consumption, substance use, personality test (Salamanca Personality test), SCL-90-R (depression and anxiety subscales) and perceived stress scale (PSS-10). Respondents were 306 HCWs (80.4% women; 19.3% men, 1 non-binary)

Results: We find that 22.4% of HCWs present high perceived stress, 85.7% have sleep problems and 20.6% are using psychiatric drugs (either anxiolytics or antidepressants). 65.5% of HCWs on psychiatric medication recognize the need to increase doses during the pandemic. Besides, 12.1% has started taking antidepressants. We find an increase in alcohol and tobacco use. The fear to infect family, the front-line professionals and the extreme working conditions (work overload and the feeling of having few means and little support available) are the main variables that impact the mental health of HCWs during the pandemic. The personality traits shape coping strategies. The highest perceived stress happens in HCWs working in Primary Health Centers (especially those that work in both places: hospitals and Primary Health Centers).

Published Date: 2022-10-03; Received Date: 2022-08-30