The identification of needs and development of best practice guidance for the psychological support of frontline healthcare workers during and after COVID-19: The FLoWS project.
You are being invited to take part in a study which will inform the development of best practice guidelines for providing psychological supports to frontline healthcare workers. Before you decide if you would like to take part or not, it is important for you to understand why this study is being conducted and to know what participating in it will involve. This information sheet will tell you about the purpose, risks and benefits of taking part in this research study. If you agree to take part, you will be asked to provide your consent electronically. If there is anything that you would like us to clarify, we are happy to do so. Please take as much time as you need to read the following information.
What is the study about and why is it being carried out?
COVID-19 presents an unprecedented global public health challenge and frontline workers providing care to COVID-19 patients will experience significant burden. Taking part in this research study will involve the completion of an interview with a member of our research team, who are all members of staff in the School of Psychology in NUI Galway. The content that we obtain from the interview will help to shape best practice guidelines for the management of frontline workers psychological well-being during COVID-19 and future pandemics. The research study is being conducted with frontline workers here in Ireland and in Italy to help conduct a thorough needs assessment of frontline workers at different stages of this current pandemic.
How was I selected to be part of this study?
You are being invited to take part in this study as you are a frontline healthcare worker who has been involved in delivering care to patients with COVID-19, and you have responded to an invitation our research team has sent out through healthcare employers and other healthcare channels.
Who is running the project?
Professor Brian McGuire, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology, along with a multidisciplinary team of medical professionals, psychologists and researchers in Ireland and Italy are running this project. The Italian contacts for this project are Professor Giacomo Bellani and Professor Maria Grazia Strepparava of the Department of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Milan-Bicocca.
Who is funding the project?
This project is funded by the COVID-19 Pandemic Rapid Response Funding Opportunity 2020 HRB-IRC Scheme
What will happen if I decide to take part?
1. You will be asked to read this information sheet and to provide your consent if you would like to take part.
2. You will then be invited to take part in an interview with a member of our research team. The interview will take between 40-60 minutes to complete. It will be carried out using videoconferencing and will be scheduled for a time that suits you. We will be asking questions about your experience of COVID-19 in the workplace, if you experienced any stress or psychological upset during this period, and what strategies you used to cope with these feelings. This will help us to identify the needs of frontline workers during COVID-19, and future pandemics, and to understand what may be useful in terms of psychological support and interventions. The interview will be audio-recorded, and this audio will be used to create an anonymous transcript of the conversation for researchers to analyse. The audio recordings, and the text transcripts that are produced from them, will be stored safely in a password protected file that only members of the research team will have access to.
Do I have to take part?
No, you do not have to take part in this research study, and you are under no obligation to do so. If you decide to take part, you can choose to withdraw from the study at any time without providing the reason or motivation for doing so. If there are any questions that you do not wish to answer, you do not have to do so.
What are the benefits of taking part?
As you are a frontline worker who has ongoing experience of what it is like to work through COVID-19, it is felt that you are the best person to help us develop best practice guidelines to help support the psychological well-being of frontline workers. It is only through carrying out studies like this, and talking to those affected, that we can work on developing the most comprehensive and effective guidelines. By taking part in this study you will thus be helping to improve supports that will be developed for frontline workers.
Are there any risks involved in taking part?
There are no known risks involved in participating in this study. However, if you become distressed as a consequence of answering the questions that we ask you, we can arrange for you to speak to our PI, a clinical psychologist, who will be able to direct you to suitable support. If you are in need of immediate support, please contact the Samaritans helpline (Freephone: 116 123), which is available 24 hours a day to provide confidential and non-judgemental support for people that are experiencing feelings of distress, despair or suicidal thoughts. The Samaritans also offer a 24:7 text support service, which is available 365 days a year nationwide. To receive this service, simply send an SMS text message to 087 2 60 90 90.
All information will be treated in the strictest confidence and will only be used for research purposes. The identifiable information given by you will not be seen by anyone except the researchers that are working on this project. No identifiable information will be published or circulated outside the group. The data you provide will be pseudo-anonymized. A study number will identify you and as such your name will not be connected with any information you provide. Your name will not be published or disclosed to anyone.
Where can I find out more information?
If you have any queries about this study, you can contact members of the research team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, you can contact the Principal Investigator, Professor Brian McGuire.
Principal Investigator Contact Details:
Professor Brian McGuire
Phone: 091 493266 (Note: Email is better as this is an office number so may not be checked regularly during COVID)
Postal Address: Professor McGuire, School of Psychology, NUI Galway, University Road, Galway.