The impact of COVID‑19 on the health of physicians, nurses and other healthcare workers: an interprovincial cohort study

Cherry, Nicola | $1,023,330

Alberta University of Alberta 2020 CIHR Operating Grant

Healthcare workers are in the front line of infection from the COVID‑19 virus and are working under very demanding conditions. Many may be asked to take on exceptionally long or difficult shifts, or to work in unfamiliar roles. All will be concerned about infecting their families, colleagues or patients and fear that they may not be able to provide adequate support for their patients or provide optimal interventions. The study proposed is recruiting doctors, nurses,health care aides and personal support workers and will follow them up to 12 months from the start of the epidemic in early March 2020, The specific aim of the first part of the study is to identify work factors associated with infection, as reflected in a positive blood test for antibodies to the virus. Rapid reporting of these findings may help prevent further infections going forward. In the second part of the study we are looking to attribute new cases of COVID‑19 in health care workers to specific lapses in control measures (such as inadequate personal protection or failure to screen an infected patient). It will also document whether new cases, defined by antibodies, are fewer in the later phases of the epidemic, and if the associated exposure factors change over the year of the study. In addition, at each contact we will assess the mental health of the health care workers and the type of demands associated with higher rates of anxiety or depression. At the final contact, in March-April 2021 we will assess whether there is persistent mental-ill health associated with working through the epidemic, both in those who became infected and those who did not, but who worked with this threat always present.

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