gms | German Medical Science

International Conference on SARS - one year after the (first) outbreak

08. - 11.05.2004, Lübeck

Impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome on health care workers in Singapore

Talk

  • corresponding author presenting/speaker D. Koh - Faculty of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS)
  • M.K. Lim - Faculty of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS)
  • S.E. Chia - Faculty of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS)
  • S.M. Ko - Faculty of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS)
  • F. Qian - Faculty of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS)
  • V. Ng - Faculty of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS)
  • B.H. Tan - Singapore General Hospital
  • K.S. Wong - Singapore General Hospital
  • W.M. Chew - Tan Tock Seng Hospital
  • H.K. Tang - Tan Tock Seng Hospital
  • W. Ng - Kandang Kerbau Hospital
  • Z. Muttakin - Kandang Kerbau Hospital
  • S. Emmanuel - National Health Group Polyclinics
  • N.P. Fong - St Luke's Hospital
  • G. Koh - Ang Mo Kio Community Hospital
  • C.T. Kwa - National Dental Centre
  • K.B. Tan - Faculty of Dentistry, NUS
  • C. Fones - Faculty of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS)

International Conference on SARS - one year after the (first) outbreak. Lübeck, 08.-11.05.2004. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2004. Doc04sars1.04

Die elektronische Version dieses Artikels ist vollständig und ist verfügbar unter: http://www.egms.de/de/meetings/sars2004/04sars004.shtml

Veröffentlicht: 26. Mai 2004

© 2004 Koh et al.
Dieser Artikel ist ein Open Access-Artikel und steht unter den Creative Commons Lizenzbedingungen (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/deed.de). Er darf vervielf&aauml;ltigt, verbreitet und &oauml;ffentlich zug&aauml;nglich gemacht werden, vorausgesetzt dass Autor und Quelle genannt werden.


Gliederung

Text

Health care workers (HCWs) accounted for 41% of all the cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Singapore during March to June 2003. We studied the perceptions of risk of SARS infection and work and non-work related problems faced by 15,025 HCWs in various health care settings (tertiary hospitals, community hospitals, and polyclinics) from May-July 2003.

A total of 10,511 valid questionnaires were returned (70% response). Two thirds (66%) of HCWs felt "at great risk of exposure to SARS", and 76% were "afraid of falling ill with SARS". Almost all (96%) felt that implementation of protective measures at work were "generally effective". Slightly less (93%) agreed there were "clear policies and protocols for everyone to follow". As for compliance with preventive measures, 92% thought most staff adhered to the recommended measures consistently, while 72% reported little difficulty in adhering to the measures.

In terms of effect on work, 56% reported feeling "more stressed at work"; 53% felt "an increase in workload"; 54% had to perform work that they "normally don't do"; and 36% had to work overtime. There were also impacts on family and social life. 82% were concerned about passing SARS to family members, close friends, or work colleagues. Most respondents (87%) agreed that "people close to me are worried for my health", and 69% felt that "people close to me are worried they might get infected through me". 49% thought that "People avoid me because of my job", while 31% felt that "people avoid my family members because of my job". On the positive side, 82% of respondents felt appreciated by their employer, while 77% felt appreciated by society.

Conclusion: Most HCWs in Singapore perceived a great risk of exposure to SARS at work and feared contracting the illness. They reported increased work stress and workload, and concerns for the health of their close associates and family. However, most were reassured with the preventive measures taken, which they viewed as effective. They also felt that the policies and protocols implemented at their workplace were clear and practical.

Acknowledgement: This study was supported by a research grant R-186-000-058-712 from the Office of Life Sciences, National University of Singapore.