LONDON, ONT -- A team of researchers from Lawson Health Research Institute (Lawson) is launching a study to examine the unique effects the pandemic has had on our region’s health care workers.

The study aims to identify and understand impacts that are unique to frontline health care workers in southwestern Ontario.

Front-line health care workers across the region are invited to take part in an online survey to share their experiences of the pandemic.

“Experiences are likely to vary across the province and country based on local circumstances. It’s important we hear the unique perspectives of those in our region,” said Dr. Kimia Honarmand with Lawson and London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).

Survey participants will be asked to answer questions about their perceptions, causes of stress and coping strategies during the pandemic.

The team suspects that on top of stresses at work, social media may play a role in compounding stress and fear for workers.

“Compared with past outbreaks like SARS, today’s digital age provides a wealth of on-demand information and the majority is unverified,” said Honarmand.

“While social media can be a place of solidarity and connection, it can also contribute to the spread of misinformation and fear.”

Researchers will also be looking at if measures like physical distancing may contribute to a loss of social support systems.

The survey for frontline hospital workers can be found here.