“Assessing the Physician’s Psychological Range of Response to Loss following recent Death of a Patient in a Tertiary Care Teaching Hospital”
Keywords:Burnout, Coping, Patient Death, Physician Grief, Vulnerability
Background: Grief is a complex emotion and is extensively implicated as a cause of psychiatric morbidity. The way each individual perceives grief and addresses it is variable. With the recent Covid 19 pandemic, physician burnout was a major concern owing to the long work hours and multitudes of deaths witnessed. A population in whom there is a lack of literature about the effects of grief is healthcare workers, so this study was conducted to study the psychological range of responses to witnessed patient deaths.
Methods and Methodology: This was a cross sectional questionnaire-based study conducted between October 2021 and January 2022. The 102 participants were administered the “Adult attitude to grief” scales in addition to a brief structured interview by the investigators.
Results: Our study included a total of 102 physicians who met the inclusion criteria. 53 (51.96%) Intern Medical Officers (IMOs) had an average grief score of 19.15 and 34 (33.33%) post graduate students had a score of 17 indicating low level of vulnerability. 15 (14.7%) faculty who answered the questionnaire had an average grief score of 16.4 again indicating low level of vulnerability and best among the three subgroups of participants.
57% of the respondents sought help to cope with the loss and 77% of the respondents agreed that having a provision in the hospital policies that encourages them to seek help when they are grieving.
Conclusion: There is a need for systematic psychological evaluation of various subgroups of physicians and formulate new policies to prevent physician burnout and significant psychological distress.