The Covid-19 outbreak left some nurses emotionally impaired

Nurses at residential care facilities who have experienced the Covid outbreak may benefit from mental health services.

According to recent investigations conducted by the University of East Anglia, those who were on the forefront of the Covid crisis should have access to mental health care in order to recover from, or at least cope with, the stress and trauma they experienced while at work.

A brand new paper released recently looks at how the pandemic has mentally affected nurses in nursing homes. It demonstrates how nurses at residential care facilities were emotionally and psychologically influenced by a circumstance for which they had not been ready.

According to the study’s authors, an emotional health and wellness plan might be helpful for the frontline staff in overcoming the trauma and psychological anguish they experienced during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The research findings demonstrate that the mental health and welfare of residential care nurses were negatively affected because they were not adequately prepared for the exceptional position they had during the pandemic. They were faced with the challenge of treating patients who were already suffering from many serious medical ailments and a newly emerging pandemic. Moreover, they achieved this despite resource constraints, inconsistent directives, and a lack of outside expert guidance.

“Health and social care staff are still very much in a recovery phase. They need time to recover from all that happened during the pandemic and many of them will need counseling and mental health support for some time.

“Supporting care home nurses to recover from the pandemic is essential to maintain a healthy, stable workforce”, commented Diane Bunn, Lead Researcher at UEA’s School of Health Sciences

Care home nurses in England and Scotland were interviewed extensively by the study team to learn about their perspectives on the recent health crisis. The adaptability and emotional health of the nurses was a specific point of emphasis.

“All of the nurses we spoke to described being attentive to the needs of others, but less attentive to their own needs, which came at personal cost.

“There are many lessons to be learnt to support their recovery and ensure appropriate policies are in place in preparedness for the next pandemic,” added Bunn.

Several methods for nurses to cope with and move beyond traumatic events were explored in the study, as well as ways to better equip medical teams for future deadly diseases humanity might face. Among them, the following ideas were highlighted:

  • continuous and flexible mental health and well-being approach throughout every phase of the pandemic is essential.
  • more acknowledgement, both professionally and administratively, of the specialised abilities needed by nurses working in care centres is also of high importance.
  • facilities should reevaluate existing guidelines in light of new information about potential pandemics and other calamities.
  • hospitals should create emergency response plans for different situations and involve more staff in regular training.
  • medical centres should promote recommendations that are consistent and guidelines that are effectively communicated through approaches that are evidence-based.
  • support for care home nurses is considered to certainly assist other medical system employees, both directly or indirectly.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of East Anglia and the University of Leicester. The funding was provided by the Burdett Trust for Nursing and the National Institute of Health and Care Research.