Cognitive impairment and COVID-19

During COVID-19, people with cognitive impairment may find hospital even more frightening than usual. In recognition of this changed environment,  the Commission has developed new resources to support health service organisations to provide safe care for people with cognitive impairment during COVID-19.

During COVID-19, people with cognitive impairment may be further disoriented by the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and find instructions such as social distancing hard to follow. There may be restrictions on family and carers who are usually there to support them.  

Key actions from the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards that are being implemented by health service organisations to support safe, high quality care for people with cognitive impairment remain crucial at this time. These key actions include:

  • Goals of care discussions with the patient, support person or, if required, the substitute decision-maker
  • The involvement of carers
  • Delirium prevention strategies, and
  • The use of antipsychotics only as a last resort.

The Commission acknowledges the contribution of people with dementia, carers, clinicians and researchers in the development of these resources.

These new resources are: