Case study of a stepped-care psychological service for healthcare professionals working in critical care




Galati, Connie
Avard, Bronwyn
Ramsay, Louise

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Australian Hospital Association


Psychological injury is common among healthcare professionals and is expected to be further exacerbated by the current global pandemic, with the far-reaching impacts of this workplace trauma yet to be fully realised. Our Intensive Care Unit and Emergency Department sought to proactively introduce strategies that might reduce the anticipated short- and longer-term negative impact of the pandemic on staff and ultimately patients and families. Our organisation facilitated the temporary redeployment of senior psychologists to provide staff-focused support. Interventions included leader targeted training to increase the skills in this group, specifically for this situation, and site visits to allow for staff to meet with psychologists. Staff experiences of the intervention were explored through the direct observations of the psychologists leading the approach maintained through contemporaneous activity tracking records. An internal and embedded staff psychological service fosters help-seeking behaviours and is considered a desirable and acceptable model for healthcare leaders and professionals. What is known about the topic? Healthcare professionals are at increased risk of psychological distress and injury caused by the inherent stress of their role. What does this paper add? This paper provides service providers with insights into the benefits of an embedded staff psychological service to support the psychological wellbeing of healthcare professionals and teams within an Australian public health service context. What are the implications for practitioners? An embedded staff psychological service can better meet the psychological needs of healthcare professionals and teams by focusing on prevention and early intervention strategies through targeted and tailored systems, teams, and individual interventions.





Australian Health Review


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