Objectives Exposure to infection is an inherent occupational risk for healthcare workers and may lead them to undergo quarantine during disease outbreaks. Both front-line battle and quarantine are stressful experiences that may make psychological support for healthcare workers necessary. Psychological support measures based on the best available evidence should be included in emergency plans worldwide. We summarise the research evidence on the psychological impact of quarantine on healthcare workers.
Methods We retrieved 470 articles on the psychological impact of quarantine on healthcare workers from the Web of Science and included in this review all 12 articles that met our inclusion criteria.
Results The reviewed studies reported acute stress during quarantine and long-lasting depressive, post-traumatic stress and alcohol dependency and abuse symptoms. Healthcare workers fear infection for themselves, but more so for their loved ones, and are also concerned about the stigma that may affect their families, most especially their children.
Conclusions The safety of healthcare workers and their families during disease outbreaks needs to be ensured. Suitable alternative accommodation and personalised monitoring during quarantine are useful intervention measures to prevent adverse effects in healthcare workers. Clear public health communication will help reduce uncertainty, guilt and stigma. Financial aid should be considered for the more severely affected workers. Finally, mental healthcare for healthcare workers should be a priority, as quarantines can be a mental distress trigger. The development of efficient referral paths and the provision of counselling or psychotherapy during the confinement period are an opportunity for early mental health interventions.
- healthcare workers
- health personnel
- psychological stress
- mental suffering
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Contributors ELG-D designed the search strategy with input from CM-F and CG-F. ELG-D implemented the literature search. ELG-D and CM-F independently performed the screening and quality assessment, and any discrepancies were discussed with CG-F. ELG-D carried out the data extraction. ELG-D wrote the first draft of the review with input from CM-F and CG-F.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.