Scientific article
Open access

Caring for older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic

ContributorsPrendki, Virginie; Tiseo, Giusy; Falcone, Marco; ESCMID Study Group for Infections in the Elderly (ESGIE)
Published inClinical microbiology and infection, vol. 28, no. 6, p. 785-791
Publication date2022-06
First online date2022-03-11

Background: Elderly patients represent a high-risk group with increased risk of death from COVID-19. Despite the number of published studies, several unmet needs in care for older adults exist.

Objectives: To discuss unmet needs of COVID-19 in this special population.

Sources: A literature review for studies on COVID-19 in elderly patients published between December 2019 and November 2021 was performed. Clinical questions were formulated to guide the literature search. The search was conducted in the MEDLINE database, combining specific search terms. Two reviewers independently conducted the search and selected the studies according to the prespecified clinical questions.

Content: Elderly patients with COVID-19 have peculiar characteristics. They may have atypical clinical presentation, with no fever and with delirium or neurological manifestations as the most common signs, with potential delayed diagnosis and increased risk of death. The reported fatality rates among elderly patients with COVID-19 are extremely high. Several factors, including comorbidities, atypical presentation, and exclusion from intensive care unit care, contribute to this excess of mortality. Age alone is frequently used as a key factor to exclude the elderly from intensive care, but there is evidence that frailty rather than age better predicts the risk of poor outcome in this category. Durability of vaccine efficacy in the elderly remains debated, and the need for a third booster dose is becoming increasingly evident. Finally, efforts to care for elderly patients who have survived after acute COVID-19 should be implemented, considering the high rates of long COVID sequelae and the risk of longitudinal functional and cognitive decline.

Implications: We highlight peculiar aspects of COVID-19 in elderly patients and factors contributing to high risk of poor outcome in this category. We also illuminated gaps in current evidence, suggesting future research directions and underlining the need for further studies on the optimal management of elderly patients with COVID-19.

  • COVID-19
  • Elderly
  • Frailty
  • Geriatric
  • Long COVID
  • Older
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Vaccines
  • Aged
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / therapy
  • Frailty / diagnosis
  • Frailty / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome
Citation (ISO format)
PRENDKI, Virginie, TISEO, Giusy, FALCONE, Marco. Caring for older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. In: Clinical microbiology and infection, 2022, vol. 28, n° 6, p. 785–791. doi: 10.1016/j.cmi.2022.02.040
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1198-743X

Technical informations

Creation02/07/2023 8:34:00 AM
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Update time05/22/2023 12:14:02 PM
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