Sleep and mental health in health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic
This study enrolls health care workers in Western new York. The purpose of the study is to learn how health care workers are sleeping and feeling during this time to inform ways to support you now and in the future.
Participation involves a single online, anonymous survey to describe the changes in sleep habits, work and personal responsibilities and to screen for signs of anxiety, depression and acute insomnia. The survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete and does not collect any identifiable information.
During the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic, society is facing significant uncertainty in regards to the stability of our health, our safety, food security, and planning the immediate future. Child care responsibilities, professional work schedules and locales have been completely upended for all families in hard-hit areas, such as New York state. In addition, health care workers are tasked with providing care to increasing amounts of ill people, including those infected with the disease. This can require work in unfamiliar roles, with equipment or systems and processes outside of his or her area of training with increased personal risk. This is an unprecedented rise in both personal and professional stress in an emotionally charged environment. Early data from China suggest that burnout has affected both frontline health care providers as well as those on the usual wards during this pandemic (1).
Previous to this pandemic, professional burnout was an area of increasing focus in health care providers. Attention has been paid to the fact that half of medical students (2,3), residents (4) and attending physicians (5) report experiencing burnout; the rates of which exceed the rest of the US workforce and are increasing over time (6). Provider burnout has far-reaching implications for the patient by increasing commission of medical errors (7), for the individual by increasing depression, suicide and substance abuse (2, 8-10), and for the health care system by decreasing productivity (11) and leading to long-term provider shortages (12). This has led to conclusions that provider wellness is vital to optimal performance of health care systems (13). During an unparalleled burden on health care workers, this is more important than ever in a pandemic.
One of the modifiable risk factors consistently associated with burnout is sleep health (14, 15). Physicians sleep less than other workers, at an average of 6.5 hours per night, and 43% of physicians reported work schedules were to blame for inadequate sleep (16). In addition, sleep schedules are highly variable and dependent on rotations from night to day shifts. Research has found variability in workload at specific points of time in training make immediate sleep time not as important as the cumulative effect of sleep disturbances during training on the ultimate development of burnout (17); such variability is no doubt exacerbated during our current health crisis.
Extended, irregular work hours in addition to increased personal responsibilities and stress have led to disrupted work and sleep schedules for every person in communities changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. To our knowledge, no data are available describing the impact of the pandemic on the sleep health or mental health of health care workers, on and off the frontline. This observational, cross-sectional study will attempt to describe the current sleep health in health care workers in all roles. We will also screen for depression, anxiety and insomnia with the intent to make associations with changes in sleep health and worsening mental health during this time.
As the financial and social effects of this pandemic will be felt for many years to come, so can the impact on the sleep and mental health of those most impacted by this crisis. This information is vital to identify areas in which health care workers need support now, as well as to protect workers in future pandemics.
Health care worker currently employed in a Kaleida-facility or the VA of WNY
Access to an internet-enabled device
Due to COVID-19, new enrollment in research studies will be greatly limited.
If you are interested in a study, there may be a longer waiting period to receive a response to your inquiry.
View the guidance for research participants for additional information.
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If you do not hear back within 2 business days, reach out to the study team directly at the contact information above or email firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will assist you.