Critical Care and Shock

The Psychological impact of SARS on health care providers

Abstract

The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) triggered a devastating and deadly outbreak in Singapore. The impact that this deadly disease caused was like no other; healthcare facilities were overwhelmed with patients, healthcare providers continuously fell victims of the disease, and the uncertainty of the natural history of the disease kept the world in a general state of panic.

Though numerous studies have been developed regarding SARS, this study focuses on the emotional issues that healthcare providers faced during the outbreak.

During the time of the study and in the midst of the outbreak, the psychology team developed a program for mental health among healthcare providers. The program consisted of group session therapy where a total of 16 groups were developed mainly comprised of nurses and physicians. The emotional stress that healthcare providers faced during the outbreak was overwhelming creating confusion and mixed emotions that made their jobs an extraordinary challenge.

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