Martinsson L, Strang P, Bergström J, Lundström S
BMC Geriatr 21 (1) 294 [2021-05-06; online 2021-05-06]
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is a disease with diverse presentation. Several studies have shown different occurrence of symptoms for women and men, but no studies have been found examining sex differences in clinical presentation for nursing home residents dying from COVID-19. The objective of this study was to describe sex and age differences and the impact of a dementia diagnosis on symptom occurrence during the last week in life for persons dying from COVID-19 in nursing homes. This is a population-based retrospective study based on data from the Swedish Register of Palliative Care. A total of 1994 residents aged 65 or older who died from COVID-19 in nursing homes were identified. The impact of sex, age and a dementia diagnosis on six different symptoms was analysed using chi2-test and multivariate logistic regression. Residents dying from COVID-19 were more often men (p < .002). Men more often had dyspnoea and death rattles (p < .001). Nausea was more common in women (p < .001). No sex differences in the occurrence of pain, anxiety or confusion were seen. Dyspnoea and nausea were less commonly reported in residents with dementia (p < .001). We found sex differences in symptom presentation for fatal COVID-19 in nursing home settings which remained after adjusting for age. Residents with a dementia diagnosis had fewer symptoms reported before death compared to those without dementia. Clinical presentation of fatal COVID-19 differs between women and men in nursing homes. Residents with fatal COVID-19 present with more unspecific and less prominent symptoms when also suffering from dementia.