How the pandemic is affecting nonclinical hospital workers

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, physicians and nurses are on the front lines providing care to patients, while worrying about becoming sick and potentially infecting their loved ones. Their concerns are shared by nonclinical healthcare workers, according to the Los Angeles Times

Nonclinical workers — such as janitors, food service workers and clerks — disinfect hospital floors, keep healthcare workers fed and help patients get medical records among other duties, during which they risk exposure to someone's who's been in contact with a COVID-19 patient. Like physicians and nurses, they also worry about contracting COVID-19 and spreading it, the Times reports.

Other reported concerns include feeling unprotected and having their hours cut or losing their jobs.

Steven Wallace, a professor in the community health sciences department at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health in Los Angeles, told the Times nonclinical hospital staffers "likely face similar to higher risks as others who still have to report to work." 

"Almost everyone in a hospital comes into contact with someone who has patient contact," Mr. Wallace said. 

A recent study published April 6 in the Annals of Internal Medicine also found that nonclinical hospital workers in Singapore are at highest risk for psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to medically trained hospital personnel such as physicians and nurses.

The study authors cited several possible reasons, including reduced accessibility to formal psychological support and less intensive training on personal protective equipment and infection control measures. 

Read the full Times report here


More articles on workforce:
1,500 symptomatic Beaumont Health workers staying home
Kaiser Permanente-union partnership offers pandemic-readiness training to nurses
More than 15,000 hotels agree to temporarily house healthcare workers 

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