Geriatric Syndromes in Older Adults Hospitalized with COVID-19 in Montreal, Canada


  • Sandrine Couture McGill University Health Centre
  • Marc-Antoine Lepage McGill University Health Centre
  • Claire Godard-Sebillotte McGill University
  • Nadia Sourial Université de Montréal; Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal
  • Catherine Talbot-Hamon McGill University Health Centre
  • Richard Kremer McGill University Health Centre
  • Amichai Grunbaum McGill University Health Centre



COVID-19, older adults, geriatric syndromes, outcomes, clinical research



Older adults are more vulnerable to severe infection and mortality due to COVID-19. They have atypical presentations of the disease without respiratory symptoms, making early diagnosis clinically challenging. We aimed to compare the baseline characteristics, presentation, and disease course of older (≥70 yrs & ≥90 yrs) and younger (<70 yrs) patients hospitalized with COVID-19.


Retrospective review of 429 consecutive patients hospitalized at two tertiary care hospitals in Montreal, Canada, with PCR-confirmed COVID-19. Baseline characteristics, presentation, in-hospital complications, and outcomes were recorded. Desegregation by age was performed to compare older versus younger individuals. Additional subgroup analyses were performed amongst patients ≥70 stratifying by sex, living situation, and those presenting with geriatric syndromes compared to those without.


Patients ≥70 (n=260) presented less frequently with respiratory symptoms compared to patients <70 (n=169) (52% vs. 32%). 11% of patients ≥70 and 24% of patients ≥90 presented with a geriatric syndrome as their sole symptom compared to 3% of those <70. Older adults were more likely to develop disease complications (including delirium, acute kidney injury, and hypernatremia) and had higher in-hospital mortality (32% vs. 13%). Subgroup analyses revealed heightened vulnerability to complications in older men, those from long-term care, and those with at least one geriatric syndrome upon presentation.


Older adults presenting to hospital with COVID-19 often have no respiratory symptoms and can present with only a geriatric syndrome. New geriatric syndromes in older individuals should trigger evaluation for COVID-19 and consideration for early initiation of multidisciplinary care to prevent complications.


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How to Cite

Couture S, Lepage M-A, Godard-Sebillotte C, Sourial N, Talbot-Hamon C, Kremer R, Grunbaum A. Geriatric Syndromes in Older Adults Hospitalized with COVID-19 in Montreal, Canada. Can Geriatr J [Internet]. 2022 Sep. 2 [cited 2023 Mar. 23];25(3):269-78. Available from:



Original Research