IJERPH, Vol. 18, Pages 8213: The Health Behaviour of German Outpatient Caregivers in Relation to the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Mixed-Methods Study
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph18158213
Felix Alexander Neumann
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected outpatient caregivers in a particular way. While the German population becomes increasingly older, the number of people in need of care has also increased. The health and, thus, the health behaviour of employees in the outpatient care become relevant to maintain working capacity and performance in the long term. The aims of the study were (1) to examine the health behaviour and (2) to explore pandemic-related perceived change of health behaviour among outpatient caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a mixed-methods study, 15 problem-centred interviews and a web-based cross-sectional survey (N = 171) were conducted with outpatient caregivers working in Northern Germany. Interviewees reported partially poorer eating behaviour, higher coffee consumption, lower physical activity, skipping breaks more often and less sleep duration and quality during the pandemic. Some quantitative findings indicate the same tendencies. A majority of participants were smokers and reported higher stress perception due to the pandemic. Preventive behaviour, such as wearing PPE or hand hygiene, was increased among interviewees compared to the pre-pandemic period. Our findings indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic could negatively affect outpatient caregivers’ health behaviour, e.g., eating/drinking behaviour and physical activity. Therefore, employers in outpatient care should develop workplace health promotion measures to support their employees in conducting more health-promoting behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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