Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health of Palliative Care Professionals and Services: A Mixed-Methods Survey Study

Wallace Chi Ho Chan*, Raymond Kam Wing Woo, Denis Ka Shaw Kwok, Clare Tsz Kiu Yu, Lawrence Man Hon Chiu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: 

This study aimed to examine the mental health of palliative care professionals in Hong Kong during the COVID-19 pandemic, the relationship of mental health with socio-demographic factors, and the impact of the pandemic on palliative care services. 

Methods: 

A total of 142 palliative care professionals in Hong Kong participated in an online survey. The questionnaire includes measurements on depression, anxiety, perceived stress, post-traumatic stress, professional quality of life, items that measure the effect of COVID-19 on palliative care services, and one open-ended question for describing how the services were affected. Descriptive and multivariate regression analyses were conducted. Quantitative and qualitative data about the impact of COVID-19 on palliative care services were analyzed and triangulated using a mixed-methods approach. 

Results: 

Up to 82%, 43%, and 42% of the participants felt moderately to highly stressed, anxious, and depressed, respectively, during the pandemic. Younger participants tended to have poorer mental health and professional quality of life. Around 82% felt stressed when communicating with patients and family members under the no-visiting policy during the pandemic. More than three-quarters of participants showed lack of confidence in the anti-epidemic policy of the government. Qualitative findings identified 3 themes affecting the provision of palliative care: 1. the tightening of restrictions on visitors; 2. the limited provision of services; and 3. staff deployment. 

Conclusions: 

Appropriate responses are required to give extra support to palliative care professionals during the pandemic and facilitate their coping with the impact of COVID-19 on the provision of palliative care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1227-1235
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Volume39
Issue number10
Early online date14 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes

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