The Emotional Impact of the Operator in the Care of Patients With Mental Disorders during the Pandemic: Measure of Interventions on Compassion Fatigue and Burn-Out

This article was originally published here

Psychiatr Danub. 2021 Sep;33(Suppl 9):108-113.


BACKGROUND: The continuation of the health emergency due to the management of COVID-19 is having a profound effect on all aspects of society, including mental health and physical health. This observational study examined practitioners of psychiatric rehabilitation and therapeutic communities, focusing on the emotional aspects of patient care, in particular the fatigue of compassion, empathy and lack of hope, aspects that could be directly linked to the burnout of health professionals, as found in other similar studies.

METHOD: In this study, self-administered scale data was collected in 87 healthcare professionals recruited from 3 different psychiatric rehabilitation communities. In particular, we assessed the fatigue of compassion, vicarious trauma, burnout and hope (hopeless), empathy and depressive symptoms in the two months of May and June 2021.

RESULTS: The results obtained after the administration of the following rating scales, ProQOL, BHS, SAVE-9, BDI-II and BEES, showed an overall increase in scores in all professional figures, a significant fatigue of compassion, while the percentage burnout is not present in several groups. The presence of high levels of hope, satisfaction of compassion is indicative of a moderate level of empathy in some professional figures; these high levels can protect workers from the risk of developing work-related stress and depressive symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: The data obtained with this study are not similar to those of previous studies, although they may indicate the importance of factors such as hope, empathy in the care of the patient with psychic disorders in rehabilitation communities, underlining the need for interventions aimed at the emotional management of the care relationship as a tool to improve care and prevent burnout even during times of high stress, such as managing a pandemic.