Pandemic Dementia Scarce Resource Allocation

  • Eric E. Smith University of Calgary, Hotchkiss Brain Institute
  • Philippe Couillard University of Calgary
  • John D. Fisk Dalhousie University
  • Zahinoor Ismail University of Calgary
  • Manuel Montero-Odasso The University of Western Ontario,
  • Julie M. Robillard University of British Columbia
  • Isabelle Vedel McGill University
  • Saskia Sivananthan Alzheimer Society of Canada
  • Serge Gauthier McGill University, Montreal
Keywords: dementia, COVID-19, ethics, critical care, mechanical ventilation


Hospitals and intensive care units are straining to provide care for a large surge of patients with coronavirus disease 19 (Covid-19). Contingency plans are being made for the pos­sibility that resources for lifesaving care, including mechanical ventilators, will be in short supply. Covid-19 is more severe and more likely to be fatal in older persons. Dementia is one of the commonest severe comorbidities of aging. Persons with dementia are vulnerable and often need the support of others to make their voices heard. This commentary, created by a task force commissioned by the Alzheimer Society of Canada, provides guidance for triaging persons with dementia to scarce medical resources during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Author Biographies

Eric E. Smith, University of Calgary, Hotchkiss Brain Institute

Department of Clinical Neurosciences

Philippe Couillard, University of Calgary

Department of Clinical Neurosciences and Department of Critical Care Medicine, Hotchkiss Brain Institute

John D. Fisk, Dalhousie University

Nova Scotia Health Authority, Halifax, and Department of Psychiatry

Zahinoor Ismail, University of Calgary

Department of Psychiatry, Hotchkiss Brain Institute

Manuel Montero-Odasso, The University of Western Ontario,

Departments of Medicine (Geriatrics), and Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Lawson Health Research Institute, Gait and Brain Lab

Julie M. Robillard, University of British Columbia

Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, BC Children’s & Women’s Hospital 

Isabelle Vedel, McGill University

Department of Family Medicine

Serge Gauthier, McGill University, Montreal

Departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry

How to Cite
Smith, E. E., Couillard, P., Fisk, J. D., Ismail, Z., Montero-Odasso, M., Robillard, J. M., Vedel, I., Sivananthan, S., & Gauthier, S. (2020). Pandemic Dementia Scarce Resource Allocation. Canadian Geriatrics Journal, 23(3), 260-262.