Psychological distress and health-related quality of life in patients after hospitalization during the COVID-19 pandemic: A single-center, observational study

Johan Hendrik Vlake*, Sanne Wesselius, Michel Egide Van Genderen, J. (Jasper) van Bommel, Bianca Boxma-De Klerk, Evert Jan Wils

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Introduction Illnesses requiring hospitalization are known to negatively impact psychological well-being and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) after discharge. The impact of hospitalization during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic on psychological well-being and health-related quality of life is expected to be higher due to the exceptional circumstances within and outside the hospital during the pandemic surge. The objective of this study was to quantify psychological distress up to three months after discharge in patients hospitalized during the first coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic wave. We also aimed to determine HRQoL, to explore predictors for psychological distress and HRQoL, and to examine whether psychological distress was higher in COVID- 19 confirmed patients, and in those treated in Intensive Care Units (ICUs). Methods In this single-center, observational cohort study, adult patients hospitalized with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 between March 16 and April 28, 2020, were enrolled. Patients were stratified in analyses based on SARS-CoV-2 PCR results and the necessity for ICU treatment. The primary outcome was psychological distress, expressed as symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression, up to three months postdischarge. Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) was the secondary outcome. Exploratory outcomes comprised predictors for psychological distress and HRQoL. Results 294 of 622 eligible patients participated in this study (median age 64 years, 36% female). 16% and 13% of these patients reported probable PTSD, 29% and 20% probable anxiety, and 32% and 24% probabledepression at one and three months after hospital discharge, respectively. ICU patients reported less frequently probable depression, but no differences were found in PTSD, anxiety, or overall HRQoL. COVID-19 patients had a worse physical quality of life one month after discharge, and ICU patients reported a better mental quality of life three months after discharge. PTSD severity was predicted by time after discharge and being Caucasian. Severity of anxiety was predicted by time after discharge and being Caucasian. Depression severity was predicted by time after discharge and educational level. Conclusion COVID-19 suspected patients hospitalized during the pandemic frequently suffer from psychological distress and poor health-related quality of life after hospital discharge. Non- COVID-19 and non-ICU patients appear to be at least as affected as COVID-19 and ICU patients, underscoring that (post-)hospital pandemic care should not predominantly focus on COVID-19 infected patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0255774
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume16
Issue number8 August
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Vlake et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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