As we are all aware, COVID-19 usually presents with a dry cough, fatigue, and shortness of breath and in some cases patients are asymptomatic. To add to the confusion, physicians managing the healthcare of seniors have found that this population may not present with the typical symptoms as the younger population, making an early diagnosis that much more difficult. Symptoms often observed in residents affected by COVID-19 may include sleeping more often, loss of appetite, increased confusion, apathy, dizziness or they may stop speaking or suddenly collapse. If these changes are observed it is critical that staff identify them quickly as early detection may affect the course treatment. Some Physicians have reported that signs of trauma or stroke can also be early signs of COVID-19 infection.
Another challenging development for care teams is the report of blood clotting not resolved with current anticoagulant therapies. This can negatively impact residents with chronic health conditions who are positive with COVID-19 as the clotting disorder can result in hemorrhage, pulmonary embolism, and/or other bleeding disorders. Remember, these are unchartered waters, we are learning as we go as this virus is fast-moving and will keep us on our toes!
For more information, McKnight’s Long Term Care recently published an article about the unusual symptoms that seniors may present.