Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Australian community health service staff's occupational and personal lives: A longitudinal study

Sara Holton, Karen H. Wynter, Anna Peeters, Alexandra Georgalas, Ann Yeomanson, Bodil Rasmussen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Little is known about the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on community health serVICe staff. The aim of this study was to assess the immediate and longer-term psychosocial impacts of COVID-19 on community health serVICe staff in Australia. Methods: A prospective cohort design with an anonymous cross-sectional online survey that was administered at two time points (March-April 2021; n = 681 and September-October 2021; n = 479). Staff (clinical and non-clinical) were recruited from eight community health services in Victoria, Australia. Study-specific questions evaluated the impact of COVID-19 on respondents' work and personal lives. Space was provided at the end of the surveys for free-text comments. Results: There were no significant differences in respondent characteristics between the two surveys. At both survey time points, respondents were mostly concerned about their family's health. Compared to the first survey, survey two respondents were significantly more likely to report concerns about infecting family members (48.8% vs 41.6%, P = 0.029), clients having COVID-19 (43.2% vs 36.2%, P = 0.035), getting COVID-19 at work (53.7% vs 45.6%, P = 0.014), not being prepared to care for clients with COVID-19 (27.5% vs 18.8%, P = 0.006) and feeling more stress at work (63.7% vs 50.8%, P < 0.001). A significantly greater proportion of respondents indicated they were considering transitioning into another sector at the time of the second survey compared to the first (24.8% vs 18.7%, P = 0.026). Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a considerable impact on the work and personal lives of community health serVICe staff. Staff would benefit from continued and targeted initiatives that address their wellbeing and concerns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-536
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Journal of Primary Health
Volume29
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Australia
  • community health services
  • COVID-19
  • longitudinal study
  • occupational health
  • pandemic
  • psychosocial
  • survey

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