EXHAUSTED health workers are being given professional help to deal with the physical and psychological effects of working around the clock since the first positive coronavirus case was confirmed in Spain on January 31.
Anxiety, acute tiredness, lack of appetite and insomnia are symptoms which are beginning to take their toll on doctors, nurses and other health personnel who have been stretched to their limits in hospitals across the country.
Health bosses claim personnel are reluctant to take a break, but explained there are already several centres, such as the San Carlos Clinic in Madrid, which are preparing teams of psychiatrists and psychologists to help worn out staff dealing first hand with the effects of COVID19.
Psychiatrists have warned that without intervention, these first signs of exhaustion could worsen, and lead to cognitive problems, a lack of memory and concentration difficulties, as well as irritability and episodes of inconsolable crying.
The brain apparently needs a minimum of two hours sleep in order to survive and function properly.
“Anxiety and insomnia are not good factors to function properly in an emergency situation like this,” warned psychiatrist and neurologist Alfonso Chinchilla told Informacion.
He urged doctors and nurses to be realistic in the face of the coronavirus threat, to avoid “deceptive heroism”, and set mandatory rest shifts.
“The worst thing that could happen now is a collapse because there is still a lot to do.”
There are also moves being made to ensure health professionals receive appropriate care once the virus is contained.
“Seeing people die also affects staff, we are not made of stone”, Chinchilla said, pointing out that health personnel may suffer from post-traumatic stress symptoms
“Many will take months to forget the extreme situations they are experiencing at the moment.”
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