COVID-19: Older people need special protection

COVID-19: Older people need special protection

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COVID-19 protective measures for senior citizens

Older people are particularly at risk of serious complications from COVID-19 that can even lead to death. Given this danger, guidelines and best practices have been published that can be used to protect the elderly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A recent article by the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine has published various guidelines and practices that can be used to protect our older population from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Journal of Geriatric Emergency Medicine".

Older people need better protection against COVID-19

Older people can experience serious complications from COVID-19, including death. Healthcare providers and family members can use various proven methods to protect our senior citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Care and protective measures have to be adapted to COVID-19

Older people generally need additional care and protection measures. COVID-19 further exacerbates these needs. Family members should be aware of the dangers that COVID-19 poses to their elderly relatives and should know methods of how to reduce this danger. It is to be hoped that this information will provide helpful guidance for the protection of older adults in this crisis.

COVID-19 studies are particularly important for the elderly

In the article, the researchers give an insight into various aspects of how the novel coronavirus affects the care of older adults. The research group emphasizes the need to prioritize tests for older adults, as these individuals have an increased risk of complications from the disease.

Care of the elderly over the phone?

The researchers advise the health care systems to carry out tests in areas other than the emergency room if possible and to use options such as tele-care in the screening process.

Corona increases isolation from the elderly

Older adults may already be significantly isolated. A social distance because of corona can make the complications of remoteness worse. Shorter times with caregivers can be dangerous for older adults as opportunities are missed to capture or prevent cognitive or general health problems and undetected falls.

Problems when dealing with the elderly with necessary protective equipment

If protective equipment is required that nurses currently have to wear near cognitive impaired patients, this change in appearance can be very confusing for those affected. For example, if people with dementia have to wear protective gear themselves, they may not understand why it is necessary. Additional resources are needed to better support older people during the pandemic.

Symptoms can be obscured by other illnesses

While fever and airway symptoms are widely recognized as key symptoms associated with COVID-19, these complaints often appear differently in older adults. For example, fever in older adults may be reduced or even absent during infection. The airway symptoms can either be masked or exacerbated by concurrent diseases such as COPD, which can further worsen the prognosis.

Information about other key points

The article includes key points, evidence, and case studies on other elderly care issues, including transportation between locations such as nursing homes and hospitals, triage instructions, and suggestions for changes to inpatient care systems.

Nursing practices for the elderly should be reviewed

“As our understanding of this virus continues to improve, we need to revise our nursing practices, both clinically and inpatient care, to ensure that our most vulnerable populations are protected,” said study author Professor Dr. Kathleen Unroe of the Regenstrief Institute in a press release. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Caring for seniors during COVID-19 pandemic: Regenstrief doctor provides guidance, Regenstrief Institute (Posted Mar 31, 2020), Regenstrief Institute

Video: What Older Adults Need to Know about COVID-19 (January 2023).