Updated report: Deaths in Scottish care homes and COVID-19 up to 3rd June

David Bell (University of Stirling), David Henderson (Edinburgh Napier University, Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research), Elizabeth Lemmon, (University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Health Economics) and Mirko Moro (University of Stirling)

Key findings:

  • As with other parts of the UK, COVID-19 has caused a significant increase in deaths in Scotland, particularly amongst older individuals.
  • Scotland’s care home sector has not expanded in response to demographic change: rather the focus of care provision has moved to care at home. 
  • Many of the characteristics of the care home sector in Scotland are similar to those in the rest of the UK.
  • The COVID-19 epidemic has spread to the majority of Scotland’s care homes.
  • The impact of COVID-19 on deaths in care homes lagged those in hospitals but have now surpassed deaths in all other settings.
  • Although the total number of deaths is now declining, the share of care home deaths in the total continues to increase.
  • Almost all COVID-19 related deaths of care home residents (between weeks 12 and 22) have occurred within the care home (91%). The remainder occurred in hospital (9%). This is in stark contrast to England, where 29% of COVID-19 related deaths of care home residents occurred in hospital (between weeks 12 and 17).
  • Excess mortality during the pandemic has been high in all settings in Scotland but has been particularly high in care homes.  
  • Non-COVID deaths in hospital settings have declined during the pandemic, which may be the result of re-orienting hospital activity towards dealing with the immediate crisis.  Increased deaths in other settings, including care homes, may have been the consequence.
  • Whereas care homes have been particularly affected by COVID-19, there has also been significant excess deaths attributed to causes other than COVID-19 outside hospitals and care homes.  Specifically, there have been 616 non-COVID “excess deaths” in care homes and 1,320 such deaths outside care homes and hospitals.
  • There is a significant lack of information on how COVID-19 has affected those individuals who are receiving LTC services at home. In 2017 (the most up to date figure available), around 47,070 people aged 65+ were receiving personal care in their homes. Currently, there is no information available on how many of these clients have died either directly or indirectly from COVID-19.

1 thought on “Updated report: Deaths in Scottish care homes and COVID-19 up to 3rd June”

  1. You are describing exactly the same situation that has occurred/is still occurring in Australia. There was an enquiry which found that the major reason for this was one single casual nurse who went to work (usually for a single or a couple of days) many care homes to fill in for the absence of another nurse or carer, and as such the COVID-19 virus was spread among many care homes/nursing homes. It killed more than a dozen older people in a single care home. It seems to me that those carers/nurses who don’t have full-time jobs but fill in for absences across multiple care residences need much more rigorous screening.

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