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As the COVID-19 pandemic escalates worldwide, it is apparent that many patients with more severe illness will also experience delirium. These patients pose a particular challenge in the application of optimal care due to issues with infectious risk, respiratory compromise and potential interactions between medications that can be used to manage delirium with antiviral and other treatments used for COVID-19. We describe a guidance resource adapted from existing guidelines for delirium management that has been tailored to the specific challenge of managing delirium in patients with COVID-19 infection. Issues around the assessment and treatment of these patients are examined and distilled into a simple (one-paged guidance resource that can assist clinicians in managing suspected delirium.
Deficits in frontal lobe perfusion have been demonstrated in late-life depression; however, studies to date have generally involved small numbers, used neuroimaging rather than bedside testing and have not controlled for important covariates.
We aimed to examine the association between depressive symptoms and frontal lobe perfusion during standing, in a large cohort of community-dwelling older people.
Participants aged ≥50 years underwent continuous measurement of orthostatic blood pressure by finometry, and frontal lobe perfusion by near-infrared spectroscopy. Depressive symptoms were assessed by the eight-item Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. Real-time frontal lobe cerebral oxygenation was measured by the Portalite System, detecting changes in frontal lobe perfusion and reporting a tissue saturation index score.
Almost 8% (209 out of 2616) had clinically significant depressive symptoms. Multilevel models demonstrated a significantly lower tissue saturation index in participants with depressive symptoms at both 60 and 90 s post-stand, with coefficients of −0.43 (95% CI −0.63 to −0.22) and −0.37 (95% CI −0.57 to −0.16), respectively. Controlling for relevant covariates did not significantly attenuate these associations. After addition of systolic blood pressure this association was no longer significant, suggesting lower blood pressure may modify this relationship.
This study demonstrates that lower frontal lobe perfusion, related to lower values of baseline systolic blood pressure, is associated with clinically significant depressive symptoms in a cohort of community-dwelling older people. Given the recognised longitudinal association between lower blood pressure and depression in older people, this may represent a potential therapeutic target for prevention of incident depression.
Late life depression (LLD) confers significant morbidity and mortality but is well recognized that it often goes undetected or untreated. The objective of this study is to quantify the burden of untreated depression and death ideation (DI) at a population level.
Cross-sectional study ascertaining the prevalence of, and factors associated with, untreated depression and DI.
This study, embedded within the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, involves over 7,000 community-dwelling people aged ≥50 years.
Depression was defined as Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale ≥16 indicating current clinically relevant depressive symptoms or Composite International Diagnostic Interview indicative of major depressive episode within the last year. Participants not prescribed antidepressants/antipsychotics were defined as untreated. To define DI, participants were asked “In the last month, have you felt like you would rather be dead?”
In total, 12% (839/7,055) met criteria for depression with 29% (241/839) on pharmacological therapy. Those with untreated depression were less likely to endorse symptoms of persistent low mood or worthlessness, but there was no difference in age or general practitioner (GP) visits compared to those on treatment. Over 3% (223/7,055) of participants had DI and less than one-third had visited their GP within the last year.
This study demonstrates that two-thirds of depressed older people are not prescribed antidepressant/antipsychotic therapy. It is important to raise awareness of depression among older people and healthcare professionals, with particular focus on the fact that LLD is not an inevitable consequence of ageing and effective treatment is available.
Providing optimal healthcare for increasingly elderly hospital populations who have high rates of cognitive disorder is a great challenge. Using delirium as an example, we describe how improved management of acute cognitive problems through a multifaceted hospital-wide programme can promote cognitive-friendly hospital environments. A specific plan of action is described that spans interventions in day-to-day clinical care of individual patients all the way to wider organisational practices.
• Understand the concept of cognitive friendliness and how addressing the problem of delirium can contribute to this in our healthcare system.
• Become more aware of specific aspects of a cognitive-friendly programme and how these can be implemented in practice.
• Explore the key outstanding issues for research that can further enhance our awareness of cognitive-friendly practices.