An Open University (OU) COVID-19 Rapid Response funding scheme is supporting a questionnaire-based survey of frontline healthcare workers to link attitudes to risk with COVID-19 test status.
The OU fund has awarded £6,000 towards this project, which is a collaboration between the OU, University of Buckingham and Milton Keynes University Hospital.
The project: Risk Perception and Behaviour Changes in Frontline Healthcare Workers tested for COVID-19, led by Dr Jon Golding, OU Senior Lecturer in Health Sciences, will use an online questionnaire-based survey of frontline healthcare workers to better understand if frontline healthcare workers exposed to COVID-19 show any altered behaviour and attitudes to risk-taking that could put themselves or their patients in danger. It will be used at three monthly intervals for a year.
Dr Golding said:
“Preliminary evidence suggests that some people who have had COVID-19 change their behaviour to ignore social distancing and hand washing guidelines - they act as if they are now ‘bulletproof’. However, because it remains unknown whether it is possible to catch COVID-19 more than once, such behavioural changes could be dangerous.”
Additionally, the various sections of the questionnaire allow links to be made between risk attitudes and ethnicity, age and educational achievement. This is important, since BAME individuals are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Understanding any changes in conscious or unconscious behaviour will allow the hospital and wider community to better target health education messages to improve the safety of staff and patients.