New research set to look at the long-term impacts of Covid-19 on the frontline

The vital role of carers and healthcare workers has never been more evident than during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, what is less clear is understanding what the long-term impacts of the pandemic are on the psychological and physical wellbeing of our frontline heroes.

As a result, the Victorian Government has announced funding for a collaborative study – the COVIC-HA study – to provide insight into the long-term impacts of the pandemic on healthcare workers.

Led by researchers at Monash University’s School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (SPHPM) and The Alfred Hospital, the study aims to enrol 1,500 Victorian frontline workers, including first responders, hospital, primary care and aged care workers, to comprise a comprehensive assessment incorporating work-related fatigue, anxiety and stress during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The research will provide data on risks for infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and examine the planning and responsiveness of workplaces to identify processes that best support and mitigate risk for workers, so they can be applied broadly across the sector.

“This is a tremendous collaboration that will provide a new understanding of the effects of working in healthcare during Covid-19 on physical health and function, as well as on psychological health and well-being,” says Professor Karin Leder, Head of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at SPHPM.

“Risk activities and training will be assessed to help identify ways to minimise Covid-19 impacts on workers.”

Professor Sophia Zoungas, Head of the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine adds: “People caring for those infected with Covid-19 must be supported to help them shoulder this great responsibility.

“This project brings together some of the most experienced people across a wide range of relevant disciplines to better understand their needs and ensure evidence-based responses can be developed.”

The collaborative team of researchers is drawn from Alfred Health, Monash University’s School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Cabrini Health, Monash Partners, Ambulance Victoria, Safer Care Victoria, Worksafe Victoria and the Southern Academic Primary Care Research Unit.

Additional funding support is being provided by WorkSafe Victoria.

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