The effect of COVID-19 isolation measures on the cognition and mental health of people living with dementia: A rapid systematic review of one year of quantitative evidence

Elsevier, EClinicalMedicine, Volume 39, September 2021
Suarez-Gonzalez A., Rajagopalan J., Livingston G., Alladi S.

Background: COVID-19 prevention and control policies have entailed lockdowns and confinement. This study aimed to summarize the global research evidence describing the effect of COVID-19 isolation measures on the health of people living with dementia. Methods: We searched Pubmed, PsycINFO and CINAHL up to 27th of February 2021 for peer-reviewed quantitative studies about the effects of isolation during COVID-19 on the cognitive, psychological and functional symptoms of people with dementia or mild cognitive impairment. The Joanna Briggs Institute critical appraisal tool was used to conduct the quality assessment. PROSPERO registration: CRD42021229259. Findings: 15 eligible papers were identified, examining a total of 6442 people with dementia. 13/15 studies investigated people living in the community and 2 in care homes. Out of 15 studies, 9 (60%) reported changes in cognition and 14 (93%) worsening or new onset of behavioral and psychological symptoms. Six studies (46%) reported a functional decline in daily activities in a variable proportion of the population analyzed. Interpretation: COVID-19 isolation measures have damaged the cognitive and mental health of people with dementia across the world. It is urgent to issue guidance that balances infection control measures against the principles of non-maleficence to guarantee fair and appropriate care during pandemic times for this population.