Staff psychological wellbeing and preparedness at Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospital Group during COVID-19 and beyond

Mitch Read1, Hyranthi  Kavanagh1

1Fiona Stanley Hospital, Murdoch, Australia

COVID-19 drastically changed the way healthcare providers delivered services around the world.  In the early months of 2020, Australia had largely contained community transmission; this allowed healthcare leaders to prepare workforces for the anticipated COVID-19 surge.  Papers published overseas detailed the horrors frontline healthcare workers (HCWs) faced managing COVID-19 at the coalface.  It was clear many HCWs would be impacted significantly.  Previous infectious outbreaks of a much smaller scale resulted in significant levels of burnout, psychological distress, reduced patient contact and reduction of hours for HCWs.  Given this, the Department of Clinical Psychology & Clinical Neuropsychology at the Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospital Group (FSFHG) developed a range of supports to assist HCWs across the organisation.  This presentation will discuss the design and implementation of the Psychological Wellbeing and Preparedness project which supported approximately 7,000 HCWs across two health campuses in Perth, Western Australia.  Interventions aligned with the hospitals’ stages of a pandemic response, adhered to a stepped-care model of health provision, and were underpinned by the principles of psychological first aid.   Major outcomes of the project will be presented including tailored psychoeducation materials, face-to-face presentations and podcasts produced to aid HCWs navigate the pandemic.  This project led to the implementation of a number of additional psychological wellbeing initiatives that spanned beyond the COVID-19 response at FSFHG.  COVID-19 shone a spotlight on HCW psychological wellbeing, and demonstrated to senior administrators within the organisation the value of investing in allied health (and clinical psychology) to support their greatest investment – healthcare workers.

Acknowledgements: Grant Baynam, Senior Clinical Psychologist FSH & Kellie Blyth, Director of Allied Health & Executive Sponsor FSFHG


Mitch Read is a clinical psychologist working at Fiona Stanley Hospital’s State Rehabilitation Service.

Hyranthi Kavanagh is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Head of Department for Clinical Psychology and Clinical Neuropsychology at Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospital Group

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