dementia in the time of Covid-19

Stark statistics show that in countries with community transmission of Covid-19, more than 40 per cent of the total confirmed coronavirus deaths occurred in long-term care facilities.

In some cases, it is closer to 60 per cent, according to the WHO. In the UK alone, more than 11,000 people diagnosed with a form of dementia died from Covid-19 between March and May. That’s equal to more than 25 per cent of all Covid related deaths.

Sandra’s 88-year-old mother, Mary, was one of them. Her care home in Drumchapel, Scotland went into lockdown the week before Boris Johnson enforced a UK-wide shutdown on 23 March, but that wasn’t enough to stop her mother contracting the virus. Mary suffered from vascular dementia and had lived at the Almond Court nursing home for three years.

Sixteen days before she died, a fellow resident returned from hospital with suspected Covid-19 symptoms.

“She was abandoned. That’s how I see it,” says Sandra, who believes her mother was deprioritised and denied hospital treatment due to her age and underlying health conditions.

“Even though she had vascular dementia, she was actually quite robust,” she says. “She’d had a Do Not Resuscitate order since the very beginning of her stay. But twice she had been hospitalized and treated; once for something that was a bacterial infection. On this occasion she was never given the opportunity to get oxygen or anything.”

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