Covid-19 care homes deaths 51% higher than estimated

By Laura Sharman | 15 May 2020

The number of care home residents who have died from coronavirus is more than 50% higher than previously estimated, figures today have revealed.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that 12,526 care home residents have died since the start of the outbreak, compared to previous estimates of 8,312 deaths.

Sarah Deeny, assistant director of data analytics at the Health Foundation, said: ‘Today’s data shows that 72% COVID-19-related deaths among care home residents have occurred within their care home, while just 27% have been in a hospital. For all causes of death, the proportion of deaths among care home residents in hospitals has declined from last year.

'While we would expect a high proportion of these deaths to occur within care homes, and in many cases this will be the right choice for patients, this does raise the question of whether more residents should be treated in hospitals and whether they are being provided with high-quality end of life care.'

The King's Fund said the number of deaths amongst care home residents is 46% more compared to the same time period last year.

Sally Warren, director of policy at The King’s Fund, said: ‘Whilst we can’t yet fully understand all the factors at play, this is yet another worrying finding that should keep our attention firmly on the crisis in our care homes. Although there is no comparable data, we must also understand what is happening with the people who are in need of social care support in their own homes.'

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: 'Councils want to play their full part in the national effort to overcome coronavirus, but need help and information to understand where the outbreaks are happening more widely and be able to act quickly to contain them. The Government needs to share this vital and up-to-date data with councils, as part of any contact tracing programme.'

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