Worsening general health and psychosocial wellbeing of Australian hospital allied health practitioners during the COVID-19 pandemic

Danielle Hitch, Sarah Booth, Karen Wynter, Catherine M. Said, Kimberley Haines, Bodil Rasmussen, Sara Holton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To describe self-reported general and psychological health for allied health practitioners at an Australian acute public health service over three time points within the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Methods: This study collected data from cross-sectional online surveys at three time points: May-June 2020 (T1), October-November 2020 (T2) and November-December 2021 (T3). The self-report questionnaire consisted of demographic questions, a general health question and the 21-item version of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS-21). Results: A total of 308 responses were received (T1 n = 135, T2 n = 78, T3 n = 95) from representatives of eight allied health professions. The proportion of allied health practitioners reporting poor general health significantly increased over time, as did mean scores on all DASS-21 sub-scales. General health status was also significantly associated with DASS-21 subscale scores. Anxiety scores increased significantly between T1 and T2, while depression scores increased significantly between T2 and T3. Significant increases in stress scores were recorded across all time intervals. Between T1 and T3, the proportion of allied health practitioners reporting moderate, severe, or extremely severe symptoms increased for depression (10.3-30.9%), anxiety (5.2-18.2%) and stress (13.3-36.3%). Conclusion: The general and psychological health of allied health practitioners appears to be worsening as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Organisational strategies to support the health of the allied health workforce in acute care settings must address the cumulative effects of prolonged pressure on their general and psychosocial health. Support strategies need to be responsive to changes in psychological wellbeing at different phases of the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-130
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Health Review
Volume47
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • allied health
  • anxiety
  • COVID-19
  • depression
  • healthcare workers
  • mental health
  • stress
  • wellbeing

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