Willingness and psychological preparedness to attend to COVID-19 patients among healthcare workers in a tertiary care private hospital in Kerala - A mixed method study
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has made an unprecedented psychological impact on healthcare workers. The objective of this study was to appraise the willingness, attitudes and psychological preparedness of the frontline healthcare workers to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Methodology: This was a mixed-method study combining a web-based cross-sectional survey, focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews. The cross-sectional survey covered 202 healthcare workers, and the qualitative assessment was done on 16 frontline healthcare workers. Results: The willingness to respond to the pandemic was found to be significantly higher among doctors and nurses compared to medical interns. Among demographic factors increasing age and female gender were the key factors in determining willingness and positive emotional response. While anxiety was the most common emotional response, the fear of infecting family members was found to be the most common risk perceived in qualitative analysis. The study highlights the altruistic attitude of frontline health workers to be the most important contributing factor for psychological preparedness. Conclusion: This study outlines the fact that willingness to respond in a pandemic is an innate response in healthcare workers. Considering the risks, workload and socioeconomic stressors, proactive psychosocial support should be given to frontline healthcare workers by the institutions, governments, and society.
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