Development of a Remote Psychological First Aid Protocol for Healthcare Workers Following the COVID-19 Pandemic in a University Teaching Hospital, Malaysia

Healthcare (Basel). 2020 Jul 24;8(3):228. doi: 10.3390/healthcare8030228.


The purpose of this article is to discuss the importance of addressing the psychological impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on healthcare workers (HCWs) who are frontliners directly involved in mitigating the spread of the disease. This paper focuses on the utilization of a clinical practice protocol for identifying HCWs who are COVID-19-positive or under investigation and surveillance for suspected infection, in a tertiary, university teaching hospital of Malaysia. The protocol for Psychological First Aid (PFA), which is applied remotely via a mobile application and phone calls, outlines the work process in stages, with expected immediate, intermediate, and long-term goals within a "Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Realistic Timeframe" (SMART). This protocol is developed to provide a guideline for psychological crisis interventions that promote safety, calm, and hope in HCWs, allowing them to return to psychological functioning without being stigmatized. The unprecedented remote PFA protocol may serve as a platform for further research on the application of a goal-directed approach in a healthcare organization.

Keywords: COVID-19; SMART; healthcare workers; psychological crisis intervention; remote Psychological First Aid.