Evaluation of Cardiovascular Activity and Emotional Experience in Healthcare Workers (HCWs) Operating in COVID-19 Wards
The new 2019 coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2 has been the first biological agent to generate, in this millennium, such a global health emergency as to determine the adoption of public health measures. During this sanitary emergency, the emotional experience of healthcare workers (HCWs) has been hugely tested by several factors. In fact, HCWs have been exposed to greatly tiring physical, psychological and social conditions. The authors investigated the cardiocirculatory activity of a group of HCWs as well as how they perceived stress while working in COVID-19 wards. In particular, every HCW underwent a medical check, an electrocardiographic base exam, systolic and diastolic pressure measurement, and cardio frequency measurement. Furthermore, each HCW was provided with a cardiac Holter device (HoC) and a pressure Holter (Hop). Some psychological factors were considered in order to quantify the stress perceived by each HCW while at work through the administration of two questionnaires: the “Social Stigma towards Patients due to COVID Scale (SSPCS)” and the “Professional Quality of Life Scale (ProQOL)”. The HoC and HoP analysis results for HCWs working in COVID-19 OU wards showed significant variations in cardiocirculatory activity. From the analysis of the SSPCS questionnaire answers, it is clear that all of them showed a sense of duty towards their patients. The analysis of the ProQOL questionnaire answers showed that the prevailing attitude is fear; however, HCWs did not absolutely discriminate against those who had COVID-19 nor did they refuse to help those in need. Continuous monitoring of these employees, also carried out through occupational medicine surveillance, allows for the detection of critical conditions and the implementation of actions aimed at preventing chronic processes.