Short Communication

Caring for the carers: safeguarding oncologists’ mental health in the time of COVID-19

15 Jun 2020
Louis Mervyn B Leones, Carlo Miguel P Berba, Alfredo V Chua Jr., Jennifer Sandoval-Tan

Taking care of patients with chronic, terminal diseases presents unique challenges to the mental health of medical oncologists. The current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has exacerbated these mental health risks brought about by isolation and exhaustion. Delegated to be a national COVID-19 referral centre, the University of the Philippines—Philippine General Hospital faced many challenges, including the increased workload in a perilous and anxiety-inducing national crisis which placed the entire healthcare team in an unprecedented situation. To adapt to these challenges, the Division of Medical Oncology employed the following measures to safeguard the mental health of its faculty and fellows: 1) use of psychological support materials; 2) initiation of a psychological intervention programme and 3) establishment of peer support programmes. Caring for the carers through evidence-based interventions ensures the delivery of quality care to our cancer patients despite the challenges during these trying times.

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