Case series/case reports (Indigo)
In this retrospective observational study recently published in Lancet Psychiatry, the authors aimed to describe the period prevalence, demographics, symptoms (and asymptomatic cases), management, and survival outcomes of COVID-19 in the older inpatient psychiatric population and people with young-onset dementia in five National Health Service Trusts in London, UK, from March 1 to April 30, 2020. The authors collected demographic data, mental health diagnoses, clinical diagnosis of COVID-19, symptoms, management, and COVID-19-related outcome data of inpatients aged 65 years or older or with dementia who were already inpatients or admitted as inpatients to five London mental health Trusts between March 1 and April 30, 2020, and information about available COVID-19-related resources (ie, testing and personal protective equipment). Patients were determined to have COVID-19 if they had a positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR test, or had relevant symptoms indicative of COVID-19, as determined by their treating physician. The period prevalence of COVID-19 was calculated and patients’ characteristics, treatments, and outcomes were analysed. Of 344 inpatients, 131 (38%) were diagnosed with COVID-19 during the study period (period prevalence 38% [95% CI 33–43]). The mean age of patients who had COVID-19 was 75·3 years (SD 8·2); 68 (52%) were women and 47 (36%) from ethnic minority groups. 16 (12%) of 131 patients were asymptomatic and 121 (92%) had one or more disease-related comorbidity. 108 (82%) patients were compulsorily detained. 74 (56%) patients had dementia, of whom 13 (18%) had young-onset dementia. On average, sites received COVID-19 testing kits 4·5 days after the first clinical COVID-19 presentation. 19 (15%) patients diagnosed with COVID-19 died during the study period, and their deaths were determined to be COVID-19 related. The authors concluded that patients in psychiatric inpatient settings who were admitted without known SARS-CoV-2 infection had a high risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 compared with those in the community and had a higher proportion of deaths from COVID-19 than in the community. Implementation of the long-standing policy of parity of esteem for mental health and planning for future COVID-19 waves in psychiatric hospitals is urgent.