Coronavirus: Deaths in Real Nursing Homes Double the Official Number, Study Finds

Coronavirus: Deaths in Real Nursing Homes Double the Official Number, Study Finds

More than 22,000 nursing home residents in England and Wales may have died from the direct or indirect consequences of Covid-19, academics calculated - more than double the number reported as dying from the disease in official figures .

Academics at the London School of Economics found that nursing home death data directly attributed to the virus released by the Office for National Statistics significantly underestimated the impact of the pandemic on nursing home residents and represented only about four in 10 of the surplus. healthcare deaths recorded in recent weeks in England and Wales.

ONS statisticians said on Tuesday that 8,314 people had died of confirmed or suspected Covid-19 sequelae in British retirement homes until May 8.

The figures suggest that the impact of the virus in nursing homes is finally decreasing. They are based on reports filed directly by operators of nursing homes with the regulator, the Care Quality Commission. The Wales healthcare inspectorate said that Covid was confirmed or suspected in 504 other cases in homes until May 8 in Wales.

But academics at the LSE's Care Policy and Assessment Center have found that when the excessive deaths of other care residents and the deaths of residents of Covid-19 care homes in hospitals are taken into account, the toll which can be directly and indirectly linked to the virus pandemic should be more than double the current official number.

They said these additional deaths may have been caused by residents who did not seek or receive medical care for other health conditions for fear of contracting Covid-19 or overloading the NHS as well as a lack of access to normal care.

Nursing homes have staff absence rates of 10% to 20% and many homes have tried to isolate residents in their bedrooms to reduce the spread of infections, but this can also make their normal care more difficult and the needs of less visible residents.

Academics monitoring the number of deaths from viruses in nursing homes around the world since the start of the pandemic have voiced international concerns over deaths related to the isolation of residents in their bedrooms without adequate food, drink or medical support, not the virus itself.

They reported that from March 13 to May 1, 19,938 had been “excessive deaths” in nursing homes, which was higher than the average number of deaths for the same weeks in the previous five years. Only 8,310 of them were specifically linked to Covid-19 by the NSO - reflecting nursing home declarations, rather than death certificates. Researchers added that deaths of nursing home residents in hospitals are currently not counted in the ONS figures and that about 15% of deaths of nursing home residents occur in hospitals, and that this figure could even be higher.

"Nursing home death data directly attributed to Covid-19 underestimate the impact of the pandemic on nursing home residents because it does not take into account the indirect effects of the pandemic on mortality and / or because of problems identifying the disease as the cause of death, ”said the report's authors, Adelina Comas-Herrera and Jose-Luis Fernandez.

"Data on registered deaths from Covid-19 in nursing homes in England and Wales account for only 41.6% of all excess deaths in nursing homes. Not All Nursing Home Residents Die in Nursing Homes… Calculating Total Mortality in Nursing Homes Since December 28 and Adjusting Assuming 15% of Nursing Home Residents Die hospital, suggests that as of May 1, there had been over 22,000 deaths. of nursing home residents during the Covid-19 pandemic - 54% of excess mortality - in England and Wales. "

When asked to comment on the estimates, an ONS spokesperson said, "The ONS is undertaking a more in-depth analysis of all deaths of nursing home residents to be released in the coming days."

The numbers came as the Alzheimer Society said nursing homes were "on their own" amid the continuing shortage of personal protective equipment and tests for residents and difficulties in isolating residents infected.

He said that of more than 100 households surveyed in the past week, 43% were still unsure about their supply of PPE, a household using bags of duct tape around the arms, feet and hair of caregivers. Fifty-eight percent of households reported that they were unable to isolate residents and one-third reported receiving Covid-19-positive patients who were discharged from the hospital.


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