Patients with COVID-19 who present with delirium, either as the main symptom or as one of the presenting symptoms or signs, have worse outcomes, including ICU stay and in-hospital death, than those without delirium. One recent study demonstrated that it is critical to recognize that older adults with COVID-19 may present with delirium as the primary or sole symptom. In addition, delirium is an important risk marker to identify patients at high risk for poor outcomes, including death.
The study suggests that adding delirium as a common presenting symptom of COVID-19 will keep important cases from being missed and allow earlier identification and management of vulnerable patients at high risk for poor outcomes. As clinicians, we perform daily assessments for COVID-19 symptoms, but are we alert to the signs and symptoms of delirium? It is tough, we have isolated our residents to protect them which may increase the risk of delirium.
Stay the course, stay strong, stay well, mask up, and stay tuned!