Risk of Respiratory Complications from Covid-19 for Older Patients

The risk of developing severe symptoms of Covid-19 increases with age, and those aged 85 and over are at the highest risk. The chances of becoming seriously ill from the virus are greater for those in their 50s than those in their 40s, and so on. The greatest risk is for those aged 85 and above. People with pre-existing lung conditions may be more vulnerable to the effects of Covid-19, as their existing damage can be exacerbated by the virus.

Healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses, nursing home workers and home health aides are on the frontline in the battle against Covid-19. A unified pathway is needed to monitor respiratory health of patients with Covid-19, while ensuring high-quality care and making the most of NHS resources. A respiratory tracking algorithm should be used for patients with Covid-19 pneumonia who are treated in intensive care units or high dependency units, or those seen in wards with serious illness. Research suggests that treatment with methylprednisolone may be beneficial for those who have developed acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) as a result of Covid-19 pneumonia. The low chances of survival and potential long-term complications mean that older patients, families and doctors must have difficult conversations about treatment options.

A respiratory tracking algorithm should also be used for patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 pneumonia who typically receive care in wards or in the community.