VOLUME 37, NO. 1 • MARCH 2020
Tzung-Jeng Hwang, IPA Bulletin Editor-in-Chief
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant global impact with adverse effects on society ranging from health to economics. Due to the pandemic, many professional organizations have suspended or canceled their regular activities. IPA President Dr. Reichman and task force members have been holding regular monthly meetings to discuss and plan our annual congress and related learning activities. As a group effort, the IPA quickly set-up COVID-19 resources on our website to provide relevant knowledge and news for members. Our official journal, International Psychogeriatrics, soon published a series of special articles addressing the COVID-19 pandemic under the leadership of Dr. Dilip Jeste. Here in the IPA Bulletin, we collected 10 articles from editors around the world to reflect the current status, challenges, and related responses in different nations. Additionally, in collaboration with INTERDEM, the IPA held a novel webinar on May 23 (“COVID-19, social distancing and its impact on social and mental health of the elderly population”), to address the critical issue of social isolation in older adults. The recording of this webinar is now available in its entirety on the IPA website. As a joint effort, our Advocacy and Public Awareness task force also published a position paper on loneliness and social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic (DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1041610220000988). Finally, the IPA will hold the annual congress as a virtual event on the original dates (October 2-3). Please remember to join us for this essential annual event.
I am delighted to introduce to you Dr. Nahathai Wongpakaran and Dr. Joshua Baruth, both of whom are new members of our editorial team. Dr. Nahathai Wongpakaran is from Chiang Mai University (Thailand) and will serve as an assistant editor to the Bulletin. Dr. Joshua Baruth is from Mayo Clinic (USA) and will serve as the assistant to the editor. I want to welcome them on board and look forward to their contribution.
In this issue, we have an exclusive collection of 10 articles from around the world addressing different aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
First, Drs. Marianne Soueidi and Rita Khoury (Lebanon) remind us of how social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic can affect older adults, including physical and psychological consequences. Drs. Hannah R. Marston and Deborah J. Morgan (UK) discuss how social media platforms and technology can provide adults with ways of practicing healthy distraction and opportunities to stay socially connected. Dr. Kuei‐Yu Liang (Taiwan) presents Taiwan’s success story in preventing COVID-19 from spreading, resulting in only 420 infected cases and seven deaths as of the end of April. Dr. Nahathai Wongpakaran (Thailand) introduces COVID-READY with guidelines based on Thai culture for healthcare providers when addressing psychological coping strategies of older adults during the pandemic. Dr. Jorge Cuevas (Spain) summarizes the key points of “Psychopharmacological options for psychotic disorders in elderly people on treatment for SARS-COv 2 infection”, which was a consensus developed by eight Spanish professional societies. Important considerations are addressed related to antipsychotic agents and potential drug-drug interactions, specifically with experimental drugs for COVID-19 like lopinavir/ritonavir and hydroxychloroquine/chloroquine. M. Blezer et al. (The Netherlands) describes the “Toolkit Palliative Care Covid-19 Patients at Home” which was developed by a group of palliative care professionals in the Netherlands to support care providers working in patients' homes. This work reflects on a quick response from specialists to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Clarissa Giebel (UK) introduces two projects examining how closures of COVID-19 related social support services have affected the well-being of older adults and those with dementia. The preliminary results reveal an immense impact on many aspects of dementia care. Dr. Laura Valzolgher (Italy) reports a practical example of what happened in Bolzano (a regional, medium-sized hospital in northern Italy) during the COVID-19 tsunami and how family and patients suffered. Dr. Shinobu Kawakatsu (Japan) also makes a brief report on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted psychogeriatric care in Japan and how the Japanese Psychogeriatric Society responded to the crisis. Finally, Drs. Tao Li and Huali Wang (China) update us on mental health care and psychosocial support for older adults with a particular focus on the perspectives of non-medical service providers during COVID-19 in China.
Don’t miss the opportunity to read these articles because they either reflect the real-life situation of different countries or provide useful intervention strategies to assist our clients. Lastly, I sincerely hope our members around the globe all remain safe and healthy, and continue to provide critical help to our relatively vulnerable older clients.
Thank you for your interest in the IPA Bulletin. I cordially invite you to submit articles and share thoughts and experiences with us! Please reach us at IPABulletin@ipa-online.org.