Symptoms of Anxiety, Burnout, and PTSD and the Mitigation Effect of Serologic Testing in Emergency Department Personnel During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Department of Emergency Medicine
Emergency Medicine | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatry and Psychology | Public Health | Virus Diseases
STUDY OBJECTIVE: Among a comprehensive range of frontline emergency department health care personnel, we assessed symptoms of anxiety and burnout, specific coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) work-related stressors, and risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We also determined whether COVID-19 serologic testing of HCP decreased their self-reported anxiety.
METHODS: In a prospective cohort study from May 13, 2020, to July 8, 2020, we used electronic surveys to capture participant self-reported symptoms before and after serologic testing for anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin G antibodies. Participants were physicians, nurses, advanced practice providers, and nonclinical ED personnel at 20 geographically diverse United States EDs. We evaluated these domains: 1) the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on overall stress and anxiety; 2) COVID-19-related work stressors; 3) burnout; and 4) PTSD risk (measured using the Primary Care-PTSD Screen for DSM-5, a 5-item screening instrument in which a score of > /=3 signifies high risk for PTSD). We also assessed perceptions of whether results of COVID-19 antibody testing decreased participants' self-reported anxiety.
RESULTS: Of 1,606 participants, 100% and 88% responded to the baseline and follow-up surveys, respectively. At baseline, approximately half (46%) reported symptoms of emotional exhaustion and burnout from their work, and 308 (19.2%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 17.3% to 21.1%) respondents screened positive for increased PTSD risk. Female respondents were more likely than males to screen positive (odds ratio [OR] 2.03, 95% CI 1.49 to 2.78). Common concerns included exposing their family and the health of coworkers diagnosed with COVID-19. After receiving antibody test results, 54% (95% CI 51.8 to 56.7) somewhat agreed, agreed, or strongly agreed that knowledge of their immune status had decreased their anxiety. A positive serology result indicating prior SARS-CoV-2 infection was associated with a higher likelihood of reporting decreased anxiety (2.83, 95% CI 1.37 to 5.83).
CONCLUSION: Symptoms of anxiety and burnout were prevalent across the spectrum of ED staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. One-fifth of ED personnel appeared to be at risk for PTSD. Increased provision of serologic testing may help to mitigate anxiety.
emergency department, health care personnel, anxiety, burnout, COVID-19, post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, serologic testing
DOI of Published Version
Rodriguez RM, Montoy JCC, Hoth KF, Talan DA, Harland KK, Eyck PT, Mower W, Krishnadasan A, Santibanez S, Mohr N; Project COVERED Emergency Department Network. Symptoms of Anxiety, Burnout, and PTSD and the Mitigation Effect of Serologic Testing in Emergency Department Personnel During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Ann Emerg Med. 2021 Feb 5:S0196-0644(21)00108-6. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2021.01.028. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33846014; PMCID: PMC7862892. Link to article on publisher's site
Annals of emergency medicine
Rodriguez RM, Montoy JC, Hoth KF, Talan DA, Harland KK, Eyck PT, Mower W, Krishnadasan A, Santibanez S, Mohr N, Project COVERED Emergency Department Network, Haran JP, Volturo GA. (2021). Symptoms of Anxiety, Burnout, and PTSD and the Mitigation Effect of Serologic Testing in Emergency Department Personnel During the COVID-19 Pandemic. University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annemergmed.2021.01.028. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/faculty_pubs/1992