Mindfulness Eases Stress, Anxiety Among Healthcare Providers

September 3, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce, Health and Wellness

Last modified September 4, 2020

A recent article by MedPage Today discusses a 7.5-hour self-care program that a team of healthcare professionals partook in. The program focused on mindfulness, and researchers claim it improved the well-being of the team.

Among 78 full-time healthcare professionals, those assigned to a 5-week mindfulness program had significantly reduced scores on the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) compared with a control group that did not participate in the program (effect size -0.20, 95% CI -0.66 to 0.26, P=0.02), reported Rezvan Ameli, PhD, of the Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, where the trial was conducted.

The program was also feasible with the groups’ busy schedules, indicated by a high response and attendance rate, evaluations filled out after completion, and no adverse events occurring, they added. “Stress reduction is clearly desirable at the individual and organizational levels,” the team wrote.

Prior surveys estimated close to half of physicians were experiencing burnout before the pandemic, and with the onset of COVID-19, healthcare professionals are experiencing even higher levels of stress, exhaustion, and loss. In one Italian study published in May, about 50% of healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress, 25% reported depression, and 20% reported anxiety.

Self-care and mindfulness, which can foster patience, tolerance, and hope, were recommended by the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder to manage healthcare workers COVID-19-related stress.

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