The CQC has today published statistics showing death notifications involving COVID-19 in individual care homes.
In publishing its data, the CQC highlighted that notifications may include the deaths of residents who may have contracted and died from COVID-19 in settings outside their care home and were in themselves not a good predictor of poor quality care.
In stressing the significance of community transmission in care home deaths, the data includes a PHE breakdown of deaths by region.
Other contributing factors cited were care home size, including the characteristics of people living in the care home, and whether they are from a black and minority ethnic group, which have suffered disproportionately from the pandemic.
The data from 5,577 inspections of residential adult social care providers between 10 April 2020 and 31 March 2021 revealed 39,017 deaths of residents involving COVID-19.
Kate Terroni, CQC’s Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, said: “We have a duty to be transparent and to act in the public interest, and we made a commitment to publish data at this level, but only once we felt able to do so as accurately and safely as possible given the complexity and sensitivity of the data. In doing so, we aim to provide a more comprehensive picture of the impact of COVID-19 on care homes, the people living in them and their families. It is important to be clear, however, that although this data relates to deaths of people who were care home residents, many of them did not die in or contract COVID-19 in a care home.
“As we publish this data, we ask for consideration and respect to be shown to people living in care homes, to families who have been affected, and to the staff who have done everything they could, in incredibly difficult circumstances, to look after those in their care.”
Nadra Ahmed OBE, Executive Chairman at National Care Association said: “We extend our deepest sympathies to those who lost loved ones throughout the pandemic and our thanks to the incredible workforce who kept vulnerable people safe across all parts of the sector. Focusing on part of the sector feels difficult for those who have lived through it on the frontline, but we know that this historic data is based on a time when the care sector was left unsupported. What we need is to ensure that we come together to develop a plan that ensure supporting vulnerable people in our services are at the top of the agenda not an afterthought.”
Vic Rayner OBE, CEO of the National Care Forum (NCF), commented: “The CQC publication today is a reminder of the terrible toll that has been felt by those who live in care homes, their loved ones and the workforce. Behind each number is the life of an individual whose life has been lost in the pandemic. Lives cut short before their time, lived by people who were loved and are greatly missed by family and friends. Many families will feel that loss again seeing this publication, as will the care home staff and providers who have cared for and supported them for many months and years.”
Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s Charity Director said: “It would be easy to assume that if a care home has experienced a large volume of COVID-19 deaths that must mean it’s not very good, but this would be unfair. The care homes that have been impacted the worst are generally in areas where there have been lots of COVID-19 cases in the local community, so this is more a tragic accident of geography than anything else.”
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “Every COVID-19 death is the sad loss of a much-loved husband or wife, parent or grand-parent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, or friend. As care providers today, we mourn each and every one of them.”
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, added: “Care homes have been right at the front line of this dreadful pandemic. My thoughts go out to all those bereaved relatives as well as those dedicated staff who have been on high alert often working around the clock with no end in sight as well as all bereaved relatives. Every death is a tragedy and it would be highly disrespectful if lessons were not learned at every level. Similarly, every death needs to be seen in context.”