Post-traumatic psychiatric disorders and resilience in healthcare providers following medical response to a disastrous earthquake in Taiwan
Objective: Post-traumatic psychiatric disorders are common in disaster workers; however, their incidence and resilience in healthcare providers (HCPs) following a disastrous earthquake are still unclear. Therefore, we conducted this study to clarify this issue.
Methods: On February 6, 2016, an earthquake measuring 7.0 occurred in Southern Taiwan, which resulted in 117 deaths and 513 wounded. Chi-Mei Medical Center sent 67 HCPs, including 35 nurses and 32 physicians, for medical response to the scene of a collapsed huge building. We conducted an assessment of the HCPs using an immediate self-administered questionnaire and a follow-up questionnaire 1 month later. Analysis of the risk for post-traumatic psychiatric disorders and comparison between immediate and follow-up questionnaires were performed.
Results: The mean age of the HCPs was 32.7 ± 5.2 years, with 33.5 ± 5.8 years for nurses and 32.4 ± 4.4 years for physicians. The proportion of females among the nurses and physicians was 94.3% and 12.5%, respectively. In total, 16.4% (11/67) of HCPs fit the criteria of post-traumatic psychiatric disorders. The incidence rates of symptoms were as follows: recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts, or perceptions (13.4%); tachycardia (4.5%); difficulty relaxing (4.5%); and difficulty falling or staying asleep (1.5%). Nurses and female HCPs had a trend of higher incidence than their comparisons. After intervention, none of the HCPs reported post-traumatic psychiatric disorders in the follow-up questionnaire (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: This study delineated that post-traumatic psychiatric disorders were common in HCPs following medical response to an earthquake; however, the resilience was good after the early intervention. Further studies with more details on psychiatric disorders, longer duration of the medical response, more severe earthquakes, or different operations are warranted.