Assess perceived stress of healthcare workers and their family members during the period of COVID-19 outbreak in Sri Lanka
SC Wickramasinghe, SV Rajasinghe, YGAC Senevirathne, E Wickramasinghe, VUE Perera
Background: Since the first patient report in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, SARS- CoV 2 COVID 19 stormed over the world and became a pandemic within few months. With the highly contagious virus, countries and communities overwhelmed by fear, anxiety, and uncertainty: started to fight against the virus – strengthening the preventive measures, researching for vaccines and treatments. Health care professionals have been in the frontline of this battle. Many authors have argued that rapidly increasing cases and mortality push them into extreme pressure due to multiple reasons, social isolation, stigma, and discrimination. This study aims to assess perceived stress and stigma among frontline healthcare workers and their family members in Sri Lanka.Methods:Sample of frontline healthcare workers and their family members (N= 1464) were recruited, data collected on perceived stress and stigma with a self-administered questionnaire. Perceived stress Scale (PSS) was used to collect data on stress level. Results:Average stress level among staff members was 19.02 (SD = 4.48) for spouses 19.05 (SD =4.53) for children 18.60 (SD =4.66) according to the PSS. Altogether health care staff, spouses and children has experienced moderate level of stress. Female HCWs were more stressed than males. It was found that stigmatized individuals were more stressed than others and home environment was more vulnerable for stigmatization for HCWs; media played major role in stigmatization. Conclusion:The frontline health staff and their families had moderate stress level and those who perceived stigmatized were significantly more stressed than others. Psychosocial support must be arranged for health staff and their families to face with perceived stigma and stress.