Study to investigate long-term effects of COVID-19 on frontline workers

Wednesday, 16 September, 2020

Study to investigate long-term effects of COVID-19 on frontline workers

The Victorian Government has announced funding for a collaborative study into the long-term impacts of the pandemic on healthcare workers’ psychological and physical wellbeing.

Led by researchers at Monash University’s School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (SPHPM) and The Alfred Hospital, the COVIC-HA study will enrol 1500 Victorian frontline workers to comprehensively assess work-related fatigue, anxiety and stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. Frontline workers will include first responders and hospital, primary- and aged-care workers.

The research will provide data on risks for infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and examine the planning and responsiveness of workplaces to identify processes that best support and mitigate risk for workers so they can be applied broadly across the sector.

“This is a tremendous collaboration that will provide new understanding of the effects of working in health care during COVID-19 on physical health and function, as well as on psychological health and wellbeing,” SPHPM Head of Infectious Disease Epidemiology Professor Karin Leder said.

“Risk activities and training will be assessed to help identify ways to minimise COVID-19 impacts on workers.”

SPHPM Head Professor Sophia Zoungas said, “People caring for those infected with COVID-19 must be supported to help them shoulder this great responsibility.

“This project brings together some of the most experienced people across a wide range of relevant disciplines to better understand their needs and ensure evidence-based responses can be developed.”

The collaborative team of researchers is drawn from Alfred Health, Monash University’s SPHPM, Cabrini Health, Monash Partners, Ambulance Victoria, Safer Care Victoria, Worksafe Victoria and the Southern Academic Primary Care Research Unit. The researchers bring a wide breadth of skills and expertise across clinical health care, health service management, mental health, occupational health, infectious disease epidemiology, change implementation and biostatistics.

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