This article was published on 06/27/2020 in Neurological Sciences from the Italian Society of Neurology. It explores the feasibility and benefits of using telemedicine and other digital technology devices as it relates to treating older adults with Cognitive Impairment (CI) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors provide recommendations for treating this patient population who would traditionally follow up in memory disorders clinics.
- Older adults with CI adhering to social distancing have faster cognitive deterioration and worsening behavioral and psychological symptoms
- Specific uses found with telemedicine and digital technology are: providing timely referrals, triaging patients who can continue being seen virtually and those needing further testing, and some neuropsychological evaluations can be performed.
- Limitations of virtual visits include: inability to perform a physical exam, lack of equipment/technology, lack of knowledge on how to run technology, and some ethical concerns related to privacy policies.
- Telemedicine visits for evaluating daily living activities and global cognition are as efficient as visits in-person.
- Depending on the willingness of the patient and provider, a tele-neurology visit can be conducted to gain more information on a patient’s condition and is especially recommended for new referrals. The authors conclude it is a cost-effective way to see patients with CI during the COVID-19 crisis and should be considered as a suitable way to check in on patients even after the pandemic.
Cuffaro L, Di Lorenzo F, Bonavita S, Tedeschi G, Leocani L, Lavorgna L. Dementia care and COVID-19 pandemic: a necessary digital revolution. Neurol Sci. Published online June 17, 2020:1-3. doi:10.1007/s10072-020-04512-4
This review was posted on behalf of Spencer Hofschulte-Beck, medical student at Marian University, and approved by Dr. Kathleen Unroe, IU School of Medicine Associate Professor, geriatrician, and IU Center for Aging Research Scientist.