Interim guidance for the care of adult patients with cognitive impairment requiring hospital care during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia

A package of materials has been developed to support the delivery of quality of care for patients with cognitive impairment in hospital in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was developed in recognition of the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. It reflects the shared expertise of people living with dementia, their care partners/advocates, clinicians, peak bodies and researchers.

Fundamental to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic is upholding the principle of partnering with people with cognitive impairment to plan, communicate, set goals and make decisions about current and future care. Collaboration between health care professionals, including delirium and infection control experts, to develop models of care that proactively support best practice will mitigate escalating symptoms and potentially poor outcomes for patients with cognitive impairment.

These new resources are:


The NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research (NNIDR), with Dr Melinda Martin-Khan, recognised the need for guidance on the care of people with cognitive impairment in hospital settings during the COVID-19 pandemic. The evaluating Quality Care (eQC) Patient and Carer Advisory Board at The University of Queensland (UQ) drafted a scoping document for engaging people with cognitive impairment, their care partners/advocates, clinicians, peak bodies and researchers in the development of this interim guidance. The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) was consulted in the development of the guidance in relation to links to the National Standards in Quality Health and Safety (NSQHS) Standards and the Delirium Clinical Care Standard. The Dementia Australia Advisory Committee was consulted in the development of the recommendations. This interim guidance was endorsed by NHMRC’s National Institute of Dementia Research (NNIDR) Special Interest Group (SIG): Cognitive Impairment Identification and Care in Hospitals, and the Australian and New Zealand Society of Geriatric Medicine (ANZSGM)