Sweden, dementia and COVID-19

In Sweden, with a population of 10 million people, there are about 130-150,000 people with dementia, whereabout half of them live in special housing.

The National Board of Health and Welfare, one of the government agencies under the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, is commissioned by the government to manage Sweden's dementia strategy.

The first case of Covid 19 in Sweden was found the January 31st . The disease panorama follows the same development as in other countries - it is older people with several chronic diseases who have the greatest risk of being infected and die. 

In order to prevent the spread of infection, visits to special housing was prohibited by an unprecedented new law. The Board has issued legal advice on exceptions from this law.  Exceptions include, for example, circumstances connected to end-of-life care or situations where a person with dementia has severe anxiety.

The Board has developed knowledge support on methods regarding Covid-19 and people with dementia who live in special housing. This advice is particularly important, partly because a person with dementia and Covid-19 who has BPSD with walking behaviour, is at risk of spreading the infection to other people in the special housing unit. Even a person with dementia without Covid-19, could be at risk of getting infected, if a non-affected person with walking behavior by mistake goes into a room of the person with Covid-19. The knowledge support includes examples of how carecan be delivered in a person-centered manner. This means for example what the staff may need to think about concerning ways to interact with a person with dementia when the staff is ”disguised” in protective equipment, or how to give support to the person to wash hands and keeping distance.

The Board has also produced information to caregivers of elderly people related to circumstances concerning Covid-19.