Distress and Importance of Team Support among Healthcare Workersduring the Covid-19 Pandemic in Italy

Author(s): Olivola M, Parente S, Ferretti F, Bassetti N, Topa PA, Brondino N

Aim: To study the impact of COVID-19 on psychological distress of healthcare professionals in Italy and to evaluate the association between team support and distress in the same population. Methods: An internet survey using validated scales for the detection of depression, anxiety and burnout was administered. Additionally, a visual analogue scale to assess support of the team and managers was used. Results: 514 participants completed the survey. Healthcare professionals exposed to COVID 19 presented higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression compared to healthcare workers not exposed. Being infected by COVID 19 during work exerted a similar effect on levels of distress. Levels of distress were significantly higher during the first (March-May 2020) and second wave (October-November 2020) of the pandemic, with no difference between the two waves. During the interval between the two waves, distress was significantly lower. Distress experienced by healthcare workers was inversely correlated by perceived support from team and medical managers. Conclusions: Presence of higher levels of distress among frontline healthcare workers, as well as the positive impact of team support, suggests the importance of strengthening resilience to prevent potential major consequences (post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression, and anxiety) in this professional category.

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