Patients are not likely to present to urgent care a primary complaint of delirium. That doesn’t mean patient exhibiting signs (such as hallucinations, but also more subtle things like restlessness, agitation, or lethargy) won’t come in for other reasons, however. There’s a very important reason to have delirium on your radar right now, though, as a new, retrospective study published in JAMA Open Network reveals that delirium is a common finding in patients who were ultimately diagnosed with COVID-19—including those who were asymptomatic for the virus. Even more foreboding for the patient, delirium was associated with greater risk for poor hospital outcomes and death. The study reflects 817 patients 65 years of age and older who presented to seven emergency rooms across the U.S. Twenty-eight percent of subjects (again, all of whom wound up being diagnosed with COVID-19) had delirium; however, 37% did not have “typical” COVID-19 symptoms such as fever or shortness of breath. The authors concluded that “the rate of delirium is much higher than typically reported in ED studies before COVID-19….Mounting evidence supports the high occurrence of delirium and other neuropsychiatric manifestations with COVID-19.”

Be Alert for Signs of Delirium—They Could Mean You Also Need to Be Vigilant for COVID-19
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