Healthcare (Basel) 9 (6) 767 [2021-06-19; online 2021-06-19]
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected care workers all over the globe, as older and more vulnerable people face a high risk of developing severe symptoms and dying from the virus infection. The aim of this study was to compare staff experiences of stress and anxiety as well as internal and external organizational support in Sweden, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom (UK) in order to determine how care staff were affected by the pandemic. A 29-item online questionnaire was used to collect data from care staff respondents: management (n = 136), nurses (n = 132), nursing assistants (n = 195), and other healthcare staff working in these organizations (n = 132). Stress and anxiety levels were highest in the UK and Germany, with Swedish staff showing the least stress. Internal and external support only partially explain the outcomes. Striking discrepancies between different staff groups' assessment of organizational support as well as a lack of staff voice in the UK and Germany could be key factors in understanding staff's stress levels during the pandemic. Structural, political, cultural, and economic factors play a significant role, not only factors within the care organization or in the immediate context.