Navigating the barriers: an in-depth exploration of how personal protective equipment influences the relational dynamics between healthcare workers and patients

Navigating the barriers: an in-depth exploration of how personal protective equipment influences the relational dynamics between healthcare workers and patients

Authors

  • Maria Bertuol Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy
  • Serena Barello Department of Brain and Behavioural Sciences, University of Pavia
  • Giovanna Casella Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy
  • Federico Dibennardo Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy
  • Marta Acampora Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy
  • Angelica Buscella Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy
  • Jessica Mancini Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy
  • Elena Bertuzzi Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy
  • Leopoldo Sarli Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy
  • Antonio Bonacaro Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy
  • Giovanna Artioli Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy

Keywords:

patient centred medicine, medical humanities, qualitative research, covid-19, patient-doctor communication

Abstract

Background and aim: This study explores the communication dynamics between healthcare professionals and patients amidst the mandatory use of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the Covid-19 pandemic. It specifically examines the strategies employed by healthcare professionals to address communication barriers posed by these protective instruments. Methods: A qualitative approach was taken using semi-structured interviews. With participants' consent, interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed thematically. Results: Thirteen qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with a diverse group of professionals in medical and critical care settings in northern Italy. Thematic analysis unveiled three key themes: (1) The influence of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) on the healthcare worker-patient relationship, (2) Strategies and tools for improving patient communication, and (3) Key takeaways and lessons learned. Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic catalyzed a transformation in global healthcare communication dynamics. Despite the challenges posed by PPE usage, healthcare professionals displayed remarkable resilience, creativity, and unwavering dedication to patient care. The unique circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic make it a valuable observatory for drawing lessons applicable to contexts where PPE remains a necessity. The challenges faced during this period provide insights into how healthcare professionals adapted their communication methods to ensure effective and empathetic patient interaction despite the physical barriers introduced by PPE. By scrutinizing the experiences and strategies employed in this extraordinary context, this study seeks to contribute to a broader understanding of effective communication in healthcare settings that require ongoing PPE usage

Author Biographies

Maria Bertuol, Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy

.

Giovanna Casella, Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy

.

Federico Dibennardo, Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy

.

Marta Acampora, Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy

.

Angelica Buscella, Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy

.

Jessica Mancini, Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy

.

Elena Bertuzzi, Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy

.

Leopoldo Sarli, Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy

.

Antonio Bonacaro, Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy

.

Giovanna Artioli, Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy

.

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Published

24-04-2024

Issue

Section

HEALTH PROFESSIONS

How to Cite

1.
Navigating the barriers: an in-depth exploration of how personal protective equipment influences the relational dynamics between healthcare workers and patients. Acta Biomed [Internet]. 2024 Apr. 24 [cited 2024 Jun. 12];95(2):e2024088. Available from: https://www.mattioli1885journals.com/index.php/actabiomedica/article/view/15671

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