ONS figures show 50 per cent of all Covid-19 deaths in care homes also had dementia – Alzheimer’s Society comment

New figures today published by the Office for National Statistics have given full details of the scale of care home deaths due to Covid-19 and dementia.

The study revealed that:

  • Half of all deaths in care homes from Covid-19 have been people with dementia.
  • For deaths occurring in the period 2 March to 12 June 2020, registered up to 20 June 2020, 49.5% of people dying from Covid-19 in care homes had dementia as their ‘main’ pre-existing condition - up from 42.5% in the period to 1 May and registered up to 9 May 2020.
  • 97% of care homes in the Vivaldi study have been closed to visitors.
  • An estimated 56% of care homes in the Vivaldi have reported at least one case of Covid-19 among staff or residents.
  • Of all hospital deaths involving Covid-19, 15.5% were accounted for by care home residents.
  • More female care home residents died of dementia than Covid-19 during the crisis – by 33.8% of all deaths of female care home residents were attributed to dementia compared to 26.6% attributed to Covid-19.

Ewan Russell, Head of Public Affairs and Campaigns at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

'These latest figures reveal the crushing reality of coronavirus’ impact in care homes, and yet again confirm that people with dementia have been the worst hit. They are the biggest users of our threadbare social care system, and it is heartbreaking to learn that nearly half of all residents who lost their lives to Covid-19 also had dementia.

Across the system there has been a total failure to keep people with dementia safe during this crisis, at the cost of thousands of lives.

'We’ve been calling for safe, regular and repeated testing in care homes to safeguard people with dementia, who can often be asymptomatic, and who desperately need social contact with their loved ones to stop their health deteriorating. While we’re pleased to see the Government responding to our call for regular testing, we need assurance this includes all staff in care homes, including agency workers. And to stop people with dementia deteriorating further, we need to see these tests rolled out to family carers who have been unable to provide essential care to their loved ones over the last three months.'

Donate to Alzheimer’s Society’s Emergency Appeal at alzheimers.org.uk/coronavirus-appeal to help fund increasing demand via our Dementia Connect support line on 0333 150 3456, to support people with dementia during this difficult time.