Psychological Wellbeing of Housekeeping Staff in Canadian Hospitals: Determinants and Other Influencing Factors During a Pandemic (COVID-19)_COVIDEM Project

Regions: North Slave Region

Tags: social sciences, mental health, COVID-19, healthcare workers

Principal Investigator: Chomienne, Marie-Hélène (1)
Licence Number: 17026
Organization: Institut du Savoir Montfort
Licensed Year(s): 2022
Issued: May 06, 2022
Project Team: Jean Grenier, Kathleen Lalande, Martin Lauzier, Cady Gbomosa, Marie Buy, Marjorie Lapierre, Julia Rodrigues, Pierre-Marc Dion, Edwards ESC-Lessard

Objective(s): To understand the urgent mental health needs of housekeeping staff in Canadian hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic and to address the psychological needs of these frontline healthcare workers who are directly involved in the fight against COVID-19.

Project Description: This licence has been issued for the scientific research application No.5186.

The specific objectives of this project are to 1) understand the urgent mental health needs of housekeeping staff in Canadian hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic by measuring their psychological health status and identifying factors that affect it, and 2) determine, based on the evidence generated and in collaboration with knowledge users and other stakeholders, the strategies needed to address the psychological needs of these frontline healthcare workers who are directly involved in the fight against COVID-19.

The methodology of this research project is a mixed-methods design with integrated knowledge transfer (IKT): a quantitative component where an online survey questionnaire was conducted, followed by a qualitative component involving focus groups and semi-structured interviews with key individuals to nuance and inform the survey results ( the quantitative component has already been completed). For the qualitative phase of the study, in each of the six regions of Canada (Eastern, Quebec, Ontario, Plains, Western, and Territories), two to four (2-4) hospitals were selected by convenience to be part of the study. To reflect the different perspectives of the participants' experiences and to quickly reach a target sample of 20 hospitals, care was taken to ensure representativeness by hospital size, level of care (with or without intensive care beds), type of care (adult medical care), location (urban or rural), reported prevalence of COVID in different waves, and province.

At the selected hospital level, a service communication containing summary information about the study and a link to indicate their intention to participate in a focus group will be sent to all housekeeping staff. Following this link, those who consent will be asked to complete an online socio-demographic questionnaire, and to confirm their intention to participate in a focus group by providing a preferred date, time, and language (English or French), as well as their contact information (email address or telephone). Those who provide this information will then be contacted by phone or email to participate in the online focus groups. A minimum of 20 focus groups with 4-6 housekeeping workers will be conducted; one to two focus groups per hospital selected.

Recruitment for the key informant interviews (managers, executives, Housekeeping staff representatives, union representatives, or other key informants) will be based on referrals from our knowledge users (Canadian Union of Public Employees [CUPE], Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada [HIROC], CAN HealthCare, and Montfort Hospital) or through personal contact within selected hospitals. A minimum of 20 semi-structured interviews is targeted.

This project will highlight the factors that have affected and are affecting the psychological health of housekeeping workers in Canadian hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will bring to the fore the crucial role of these often overlooked, yet vital, players. It will inform institutional leaders about the impact of organizational factors on psychological problems so that they can be prevented from occurring in the first place. It will encourage institutional leaders to be more proactive in detecting psychological malaise and offer the necessary psychological support services to this more vulnerable category of personnel in a timely manner. It is therefore essential that the knowledge generated during this project be transferred and used in the workplace. A number of studies emphasize the importance of including administrators and union representatives in project processes to ensure maximum benefit. The research team have done this to understand the specifics of the field, to ensure the engagement of these knowledge users and other stakeholders in the research process, and support ongoing awareness. This collaboration, which guarantees mutual benefits, generates co-production of knowledge, and, in consultation with the managers concerned, will develop approaches to improve this population’s psychological health and work environment.

The research team will work with stakeholders using the Knowledge to Action Cycle in order to meaningfully apply knowledge for the benefit of various stakeholders. The team will base the knowledge transfer on two models. The "collaborative model" relies on regular two-way communication between researchers and knowledge users. Knowledge users will participate in quarterly meetings where progress will be reported and continuous modifications, based on their concerns, will be made. The "interactionist model" is one where the exchange process becomes systemic and integrated between the different actors (employers, service users, knowledge users, workplace safety, performance quality, researchers). Together, these two models support IKT and facilitate knowledge production, dissemination, adaptation, and adoption in the workplace beyond the end of the project. The benefits of this IKT may be concretely manifested through guides. The goals are respectively to change practices, cultures, mindsets, and rules. Knowledge users will actively contribute to the dissemination of results across Canada by incorporating them into their own communication plans and dissemination activities (social media, public speaking engagements) with the goal of amplifying the message and key points generated by the research.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from May 6, 2022 to December 31, 2022