Commenting on today’s release of Office for National Statistics (ONS) data: Deaths involving COVID-19 in the care sector, England and Wales (deaths occurring up to 1 May 2020 and registered up to 9 May 2020), Sarah Deeny, Assistant Director of Data Analytics at the Health Foundation, said:
‘Recent data have illustrated the tragic impact of COVID-19 in care homes, showing that there had been around 8,312 deaths in care homes since the outbreak began, with numbers of deaths from the virus in care homes recently overtaking those in hospitals. However, today’s data – which accounts for care home residents that have died in hospital – show that previous figures have significantly underestimated the extent of COVID-19-related deaths among residents, which total 12,526 – 51% higher than previously published.
‘Today’s data show that 72% of 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.
'This worrying data reveal the extent of the human cost of the crisis which has already taken many lives, and affected thousands of families who have lost loved ones. It underlines the need for care home staff to be given adequate support to safely and effectively care for residents, particularly those at the end of their lives. Timely and accurate data from care homes are needed now more than ever, to better understand the underlying reasons behind the continued increase in deaths and help mobilise the resources the sector so desperately needs.'