Published online Sep 26, 2022. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v10.i27.9964
Peer-review started: July 9, 2022
First decision: August 1, 2022
Revised: August 3, 2022
Accepted: August 15, 2022
Article in press: August 15, 2022
Published online: September 26, 2022
The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic had a significant effect on the mental health, social lives, and family relationships of healthcare workers. During the pandemic, these workers had to prioritize their work over parenting, spending time with their kids or partners, planning weddings, and childbearing plans. Therefore, special recognition should be given to the families of these employees.
Core Tip: Coronavirus disease 2019 effect on relationships between healthcare workers and their families is of major importance and still not adequately discussed.
- Citation: Helou M, El Osta N, Husni R. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare workers’ families. World J Clin Cases 2022; 10(27): 9964-9966
- URL: https://www.wjgnet.com/2307-8960/full/v10/i27/9964.htm
- DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.12998/wjcc.v10.i27.9964
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic had a major impact on societies, the healthcare system, and people’s relationships. In particular, emergency physicians faced major challenges during the pandemic and are still facing these challenges. The first effect of the pandemic on healthcare workers was evident with the sudden cessation of social gatherings, live meetings, and learning activities, resulting in healthcare workers suffering from depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Relationships with patients and their families also changed because of isolation rules and the restrictions placed on hospital visitations. The effects on the healthcare workers’ lifestyles and relationships with their families have been hidden. These COVID-19 repercussions have not received the attention they deserve, and there have been a few studies on this topic.
We read with interest an observational study published in the World Journal of Clinical Cases. We agree that COVID-19 has affected the relationships of nurses with their families. Nurses have had many stressful days and spent many extra hours at work, leaving no time for their families, children, or partners. Nurses have also reported having mental health issues and are finding it difficult to cope with this new situation. A limitation of the study was that only 18 interviews were analyzed; therefore, the data were not reflective of the actual situation. However, other studies have reported the same results. One cross-sectional study on 3116 healthcare workers during COVID-19 found that it had delayed family-building plans, wedding plans, childbearing decisions, and had mental health repercussions because of the fear of getting pregnant, the risk of miscarriage, or the possibility of contracting COVID-19 while pregnant[3,4]. More than 40% of couples who had been planning to have children admitted postponing their plans because of the pandemic. Therefore, the pandemic has had a major negative effect on family planning and reduced access to infertility treatments. Such delays in fertility cycles can have major psychological effects on couples trying to perceive. A letter published in 2020 emphasized the childcare challenges being faced by healthcare workers who were experiencing difficulties raising their children during the pandemic. With schools and daycare centers closed and one parent in healthcare spending most time away from the home, many children were being raised by a single parent, and because 40% of healthcare workers are married to another healthcare worker, this exacerbated the issue. Interviews conducted with the family members of healthcare workers revealed that family members had to do more domestic work during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and had extra family responsibilities, such as preparing food and looking after and organizing activities for their children.
However, it is not only healthcare workers facing emotional distress during the pandemic. The nurses’ families are also suffering from stress, a fear of becoming infected, and psychiatric complaints, especially depression. A study on 208 family members of Hajar hospital employees in Iran found that 71% of participants had moderate depression, and another study reported family members feeling fear and anxiety because they were constantly worried about the family’s health and were afraid that the healthcare worker would catch COVID-19. Studies have found that healthcare workers in regular direct contact with patients and their families have an increased risk of contracting COVID-19[9,10].
Although a great deal of attention has been placed on healthcare workers and their mental and social struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic, special recognition should also be given to their children, spouses, and all other family members.
Provenance and peer review: Unsolicited article; Externally peer reviewed.
Peer-review model: Single blind
Specialty type: Emergency medicine
Country/Territory of origin: Lebanon
Peer-review report’s scientific quality classification
Grade A (Excellent): 0
Grade B (Very good): B
Grade C (Good): C, C
Grade D (Fair): 0
Grade E (Poor): 0
P-Reviewer: Barve P, United States; Mazza M, Italy; Pandey NM, India S-Editor: Liu JH L-Editor: A P-Editor: Liu JH
|1.||Pappa S, Ntella V, Giannakas T, Giannakoulis VG, Papoutsi E, Katsaounou P. Prevalence of depression, anxiety, and insomnia among healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Brain Behav Immun. 2020;88:901-907. [PubMed] [DOI] [Cited in This Article: ] [Cited by in Crossref: 1812] [Cited by in F6Publishing: 1891] [Article Influence: 630.3] [Reference Citation Analysis (0)]|
|2.||Çelik MY, Kiliç M. Family relationship of nurses in COVID-19 pandemic: A qualitative study. World J Clin Cases. 2022;10:6472-6482. [DOI] [Cited in This Article: ] [Cited by in CrossRef: 5] [Cited by in F6Publishing: 5] [Article Influence: 5.0] [Reference Citation Analysis (4)]|
|3.||Levy MS, Kelly AG, Brown AD, Caban-Martinez A, Arora VM, Salles A. The Impact of COVID-19 on Family Building Among Physicians and Trainees. J Gen Intern Med. 2022;37:1582-1584. [PubMed] [DOI] [Cited in This Article: ] [Cited by in Crossref: 1] [Cited by in F6Publishing: 1] [Article Influence: 1.0] [Reference Citation Analysis (0)]|
|4.||Gopi Shah Goda and Jialu Liu Streeter, The Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the Trajectories of Key Life Milestones, Stanford Center on Longevity, Sightlines Survey, 2021. [Cited in This Article: ]|
|5.||Noble N, Bradley L, Lock R, Winkelman L, Ayala-Conesa M, Lei X. COVID Issues: Impact on Families and Family Planning. Family Journal. 2022; 30: 357-365. [DOI] [Cited in This Article: ]|
|6.||Souadka A, Essangri H, Benkabbou A, Amrani L, Majbar MA. COVID-19 and Healthcare worker's families: behind the scenes of frontline response. EClinicalMedicine. 2020;23:100373. [PubMed] [DOI] [Cited in This Article: ] [Cited by in Crossref: 33] [Cited by in F6Publishing: 33] [Article Influence: 11.0] [Reference Citation Analysis (0)]|
|7.||Tekin S, Glover N, Greene T, Lamb D, Murphy D, Billings J. Experiences and views of frontline healthcare workers' family members in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative study. Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2022;13:2057166. [PubMed] [DOI] [Cited in This Article: ] [Cited by in Crossref: 3] [Cited by in F6Publishing: 1] [Article Influence: 1.0] [Reference Citation Analysis (0)]|
|8.||Banitalebi S, Mohammadi K, Marjanian Z, Rabiei L, Masoudi R. The effect of COVID-19 epidemic on the mental health of nurses' family members. J Educ Health Promot. 2021;10:368. [PubMed] [DOI] [Cited in This Article: ] [Cited by in F6Publishing: 1] [Reference Citation Analysis (0)]|
|9.||Shah ASV, Wood R, Gribben C, Caldwell D, Bishop J, Weir A, Kennedy S, Reid M, Smith-Palmer A, Goldberg D, McMenamin J, Fischbacher C, Robertson C, Hutchinson S, McKeigue P, Colhoun H, McAllister DA. Risk of hospital admission with coronavirus disease 2019 in healthcare workers and their households: nationwide linkage cohort study. BMJ. 2020;371:m3582. [PubMed] [DOI] [Cited in This Article: ] [Cited by in Crossref: 209] [Cited by in F6Publishing: 198] [Article Influence: 66.0] [Reference Citation Analysis (0)]|
|10.||Sheen J, Clancy EM, Considine J, Dwyer A, Tchernegovski P, Aridas A, Lee BEC, Reupert A, Boyd L. "Did You Bring It Home with You? Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19. [PubMed] [DOI] [Cited in This Article: ] [Cited by in Crossref: 6] [Cited by in F6Publishing: 5] [Article Influence: 5.0] [Reference Citation Analysis (0)]|