“Psychological PPE”: Promote Health Care Workforce Mental Health and Well-Being

Institute for Healthcare Improvement
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating existing issues with health care professional burnout and joy in work that will persist once the more immediate crisis has abated.

There is significant interest in health care in the concept of “psychological PPE” (personal protective equipment) — individual and system-level actions owned by unit and team leaders that provide protection and support for staff’s mental health that can be deployed both before providing care and after a shift has ended.

IHI reviewed available evidence for interventions that can help protect staff mental health in the face of extreme working conditions such as natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and previous pandemics. We synthesized this research into evidence-based “psychological PPE” recommendations for use by staff providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The accompanying visual graphic is designed to be posted for staff to see and use daily, and for team leaders to reference and use to create the enabling conditions for key recommendations to be successful. ​


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