Huge impact on people living with dementia as COVID-related care home mortality rates are released

08 Jul 2020

Over 60,000 care home residents died in the past few months, said a report released on 7th July by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Of those residents who died, 49.5% had a recorded pre-existing condition of dementia and Alzheimer disease.

These shocking statistics suggest that almost 30,000 people living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease have died from COVID-19 within our care homes in the past four months.

The report, which was looking into the impact of COVID-19 in our residential care homes across England and Wales, states that between 2nd March and 12th June 2020, there were 66,112 deaths of care home residents (wherever the death occurred). Of these, 19,394 involved COVID-19, which is 29.3% of all deaths of care home residents

The startling data demonstrates an almost doubling of deaths from the same period last year when compared to just under 37,000 deaths last year within the same period. This suggests that an additional 10,000 people more than last year died in care homes for reasons other than COVID-19 during the pandemic.

The report stated that dementia and Alzheimer’s disease was the leading cause of death in female care home residents, accounting for 26.6% of deaths. The second leading cause for females was COVID-19, whilst it was the leading cause of death in male residents, accounting for 33.5% of deaths.

Dr Ross Dunne, a consultant in old age psychiatry, says:

“This highlights the fact that most people who have tragically died during the pandemic have not died in ICU, but in hospitals and care homes. COVID-19 is a disease primarily of the elderly and vulnerable, and the UK may have tragically lost 1 in 200 people over 65 and up to 7% of the total care home population in the past 10 weeks.

Unfortunately, front line staff in care homes were poorly supported, and the government must do better during any resurgence of the virus. People living with dementia often have a good quality of life, and they should not be neglected during pandemic planning.”

Read the report: ‘Deaths involving COVID-19 in the care sector, England and Wales: deaths occurring up to 12 June 2020 and registered up to 20 June 2020 (provisional)’.

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