Care home death rates are almost back to seasonal normality as the coronavirus pandemic eases, new research has found.
Benchmark statistics based on anonymised data gathered by Person Centred Software shows less than two additional deaths per week per 1,000 residents with the trend still in decline.
The data, which covers the period up to 8 June, mirrors a similar trend reported by the ONS this week which revealed care home COVID-19 related deaths falling by more than a third.
In further positive news, Person Centred Software said the rate of care home leavers was also almost back to normal with admissions increasing to their highest level since the week ending 12 April, although occupancy is still falling.
The data shows that occupancy has declined by 9.38% since the beginning of April, a loss of 38,375 residents. This has been caused largely by about 26,573 people who have died over and above the seasonal mortality rate, but the rate of mortality is improving, with 625 deaths above the seasonal norm in the last week, down from a peak of above 5,000 per week.
Person Centred Software, co-founder and director, Jonathan Papworth, told CHP: “As the care sector starts the long journey to recovery from the impact of coronavirus, it is worth looking at some lessons that have been learnt and improvements we can expect in future. The most important lesson learnt is that lack of information is the biggest hindrance to providing safe care because coronavirus has shown that people can’t fight an invisible enemy. It is increasingly being recognised by NHS Digital and NHSX that having 70% of care homes operating on paper for their clinical processes is untenable, and has to change.
“An advantage of digital clinical systems is the opportunity to communicate data between different care settings and in particular between health and social care. There are several NHSX backed projects to accelerate the interoperability of data between different care settings, including eRedBag for hospital admissions and a standard for ‘About Me’ across all care settings. Digital care systems enable information to flow between primary care, secondary care and social care, and only care providers who have embraced the move away from paper systems will be able to join in the new world of data interoperability.”