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Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Infection Prevention Professionals Explored

65 percent of respondents reported burnout; more negative mental health impacts seen for frontline and practicing IPs

THURSDAY, July 14, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The likelihood of reporting negative COVID-19 impacts is lower for infection prevention professionals (IPs) with organized wellness support, according to a study published online July 14 in the American Journal of Infection Control.

Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, Ph.D., from The Ohio State University in Columbus, and colleagues surveyed a random sample of Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology members regarding mental and physical well-being, lifestyle behaviors, and perceived worksite wellness support during the pandemic; 926 IPs responded (15 percent response rate).

The researchers found that few of the respondents met the guidelines for sleep, physical activity, and fruit and vegetable consumption (34.1, 18.8, and 7.3 percent, respectively). The rate of depression was 21.5 percent; anxiety, 29.8 percent; and burnout, 65 percent. More negative mental health impacts were seen for frontline and practicing IPs and IP administrators and directors than IPs in other roles. The likelihood of reporting negative COVID-19 impacts was lower for IPs with organized wellness support. Worsening physical and mental health due to COVID-19 was more likely to be reported for IPs working nine to 11+ hours per day. No significant differences were seen in the odds of negative COVID-19 impacts on lifestyle behaviors between White and racially and ethnically diverse IPs.

“IPs have played a critical role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in acute and outpatient settings, but the resulting increases in stress have negatively impacted their mental and physical well-being,” the authors write.

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