Background. Working under pandemic conditions exposes health care workers (HCWs) to infection risk and psychological strain. A better understanding of HCWs’ experiences of following local infection prevention and control (IPC) procedures during Covid-19 is urgently needed to inform strategies for protecting the psychical and psychological health of HCWs. The objective of this study was therefore to capture the perceptions of hospital HCWs on local IPC procedures and the impact on their emotional wellbeing during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Europe. Methods. Participants were recruited in two sampling rounds of an international cross-sectional survey. Sampling took place between 31 March and 17 April 2020 via existing research networks and between 14 May and 31 August 2020 via online convenience sampling. Main outcome measures were behavioural determinants of HCWs’ adherence to IPC guidelines and the 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. 2289 HCWs from 40 countries in Europe participated. Mean age 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 feeling was more common among junior than senior HCWs (46% versus 38%, P value<.01). Sufficient Covid-19-specific IPC training, confidence in PPE use and institutional trust were positively associated with the feeling that becoming infected with Covid-19 was within their control. Female HCWs were more likely than males to report a WHO-5 score below 50 points (aOR 1.5 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2-1.8). 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.
van Hout D, Hutchinson P, Wanat M, et al. PLoS One 2022;17(2):e0245182. Doi : 10.1371/journal.pone.0245182.