Left alone outside: A prospective observational cohort study on mental health outcomes among relatives of COVID-19 hospitalized patients

Nimrod Hertz-Palmor*, Doron Gothelf, Noam Matalon, Shirel Dorman-Ilan, Dana Basel, Shira Bursztyn, Shachar Shani, Mariela Mosheva, Raz Gross, Itai M. Pessach, Ilanit Hasson-Ohayon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hospitalization due to COVID-19 bears many psychological challenges. While focusing on infected patients, their relatives are being largely neglected. Here, we investigated the mental health implications of hospitalization among relatives, over a one-month course. A single center study was conducted to assess relatives of COVID-19 patients during the first month from their admission to the hospital, and elucidate risk and protective factors for mental health deterioration. Ninety-one relatives of the first patients to be hospitalized in Israel were contacted by phone and screened for anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) at three time points (25–72 hours, 7–18 days, and one month). We found that anxiety and depression decreased significantly during the first month from their admission. Risk factors for deteriorated mental health at one month included feelings of mental exhaustion, financial concerns, and social disconnection. Being an ultra-orthodox was a protective factor for anxiety and depression but not for PTSS. Our findings emphasize the importance of addressing the mental health status of close relatives and adjust support for the unique setting of COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114328
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume307
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Funding

FundersFunder number
Foundation Dora
United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation2017369

    Keywords

    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Financial Concerns
    • Posttraumatic Stress
    • Risk Factors
    • Social Disconnection

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