COVID-19: Recovering at home is not easy

J. A. Jeanet Landsman, Nienke P. Verheij, Manna A. Alma, Jossy Van Den Boogaard, Marleen Luning-Koster, K. E. Els Evenboer, Sijrike F. Van Der Meien, S. A. Menno Reijneveld

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    OBJECTIVE: To gain insight into 1) the symptoms and the disease process of healthcare professionals (HCPs) who tested positive for COVID-19 and were not hospitalized because of mild symptoms, 2) the impact on their psychological well-being and 3) the experiences with (after) care and infection prevention measures.

    DESIGN: Explorative mixed-methods study.

    METHOD: The municipal public health services of Groningen and Fryslân invited all HCPs aged above 18 years who tested positive for COVID-19 between March 18th and April 3rd 2020 to fill out an online questionnaire (n = 109), on average one month after diagnosis. 18 HCPs participated in telephone interviews.

    RESULTS: Almost all HCPs mentioned fatigue as a long-term symptom, less frequently mentioned were, among other things, feeling physically weak and having a cold. Nearly half of them did not have a fever, two-thirds experienced stress. HCPs with comorbidity had more symptoms. The interviews showed that stress in particular occurred in families with children and because of uncertainty about the duration of infectiousness, with lack of good (after)care. Respondents experienced many negative reactions of people in their environment that felt stigmatizing. The isolation at home was considered bearable.

    CONCLUSION: A COVID-19 infection has a significant impact on physical and mental health, even in HCPs with mild symptoms. Persistent fatigue in particular hinders patients' functioning. The absence of fever in almost half of the respondents is remarkable, as well as the negative impact on psychological well-being. HCPs are also dissatisfied with after-care. Infection prevention measures were relatively well-adhered too.

    Translated title of the contributionCOVID-19: Recovering at home is not easy
    Original languageDutch
    Article numberD5358
    Number of pages10
    JournalNederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
    Publication statusPublished - 2020

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