WHO Interim guidance: Clinical management of SARI when COVID-19 disease is suspected
Caring for older persons with COVID-19
Older age and comorbid diseases such as diabetes and hypertension have been reported as a risk factor for death with people with
COVID-19 (4). Therefore, older people are at highest risk for fatality and one of the most vulnerable populations. It is important to recognize that older people have the same rights as others to receive high-quality health care including intensive care. Refer to the guidance Integrated care for older people (ICOPE).
For older people with probable or suspected COVID-19, provide person-centred assessment, including not only conventional history taking, but a thorough understanding of the person’s life, values, priorities and preferences for health management.
Ensure multidisciplinary collaboration among physicians, nurses, pharmacists, other health care professionals in the decisionmaking process to address multimorbidity and functional decline.
Remark 1: Physiological changes with age lead to declines in intrinsic capacity such as malnutrition, cognitive decline, depressive symptoms, and those conditions should be managed comprehensively.
Early detection of inappropriate medication prescriptions is recommended to prevent adverse drug events and drug interactions for those being treated with COVID-19.
Remark 2: Older people are at greater risk of polypharmacy, due to newly prescribed medications, inadequate medication reconciliation and a lack of care coordination which increases the risk of negative health consequences.
Involve caregivers and family members in decision-making and goal-setting throughout the management of COVID-19.
1. Zhou F, Yu T, Du R, Fan G, Liu Y, Liu Z et al. Clinical course and risk factors for mortality of adult inpatients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective study. Lancet, 2020. doi: 1016/S0140-6736(20)30566-3.