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Europe, Ireland

Mental Health Crisis in Irish Nursing Homes Amid COVID-19

A recent study titled "Worsening of mental health outcomes in nursing home staff during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ireland" has shed light on the significant mental health issues faced by nursing home staff during the pandemic.

Study Design

The study conducted two identical, online, cross-sectional, nationwide, anonymous surveys of Republic of Ireland nursing home staff at two timepoints during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first survey (S1) was conducted from November 2020 to January 2021 with 390 participants, and the second survey (S2) was conducted from November 2021 to February 2022 with 229 participants.

Key Findings

The study found that more staff reported moderate-severe post-traumatic stress symptoms, depression, suicidal ideation and planning later in the pandemic. Specifically:

Mental Health Issue S1 (%) S2 (%)
Post-traumatic stress symptoms 45 65
Depression 39 57
Suicidal ideation 14 18
Suicidal planning 9 15

There was also a higher degree of moral injury and use of avoidant (maladaptive) coping styles at S2. Staff reported more concerns at S2 regarding contracting COVID-19, social stigma, job stress, doubts about personal protective equipment and systems and processes.


The study concluded that mental health outcomes appear to have worsened, coping did not improve, and staff concerns and worries appear to have increased as the pandemic progressed.

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