Care Home Deaths Potentially Dangerously Under Reported

It has been estimated that the number of official deaths attributed to Covid-19 in care homes is significantly lower than the actual number of people to have lost their lives in care as a result of the virus.

Despite the fact that official figures claim that only 217 care home residents had lost their lives to Covid-19 in England and Wales by April 3, the National Care Foundation (NCF) estimates this figure is closer to 4,000 people living in residential care.

The not for profit organisation obtained data from 7.4 per cent of care providers in England and Wales who care for approximately 30,000 residents. The figures suggested that between April 7 and April 13, 299 people had tragically died from Covid-19 in residential care.

The number of deaths for a single calendar week was three times higher than the week previous and double the number of deaths in care home settings for the entire month of March.

Currently, this means that the majority of these deaths are yet to be included in official figures. If these figures are a fair representation of all Covid-19 deaths in care homes, it means that 4,040 people may have already lost their lives and are yet to be reported in official death figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that 3,912 deaths involved the coronavirus in March with 86 per cent (3,372) assigning Covid-19 as the underlying cause of death.

Taking all deaths into account, the rate of deaths caused by Covid-19 was 68.5 deaths per 100,000 persons with this figure rising significantly in each age group.

Covid-19 related deaths are already the third highest cause of death in England and Wales according to the ONS data, behind heart disease (82.5 deaths per 100,000) and Dementia/Alzheimer’s disease ( 129.6 deaths per 100,000).

The rate of death for people aged 65-69 stood at 86.5 per 100,000 people in March. This rose to 143 per 100,000 people for those aged between 70 and 74.

764 people aged between 85 and 89 years old per 100,000 died in March because of Covid-19 with the figure rising to 1,129.1 people aged over 90.

If the figures obtained by the NCF are accurate, it could mean the care sector is already overwhelmed by Covid-19 and the rate of death, especially for elderly and vulnerable individuals in care, is likely to increase in the weeks ahead.

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