Monday, October 19, 2020

Dying at home

 More than 26,000 extra deaths occurred at home this year. Compared with normal years, there have been more deaths at home from a number of major causes, including cancers and respiratory diseases, during the last six months. The ONS figures show that deaths in private homes have been above the five-year average since the peak of the pandemic in early April, while deaths in hospitals have been lower than normal since the start of June.

More men than normal are dying at home from heart disease in England and Wales, and more women are dying from dementia and Alzheimer's.

In contrast, deaths in hospitals from these causes have been lower than usual. The Covid epidemic may have led to fewer people being treated in hospital. Or it may be that people in older age groups, who make up the majority of these deaths, are choosing to stay at home.

Prof Sir David Spiegelhalter, chairman of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge, said that equated to an extra 100 people dying at home every day.

"Usually around 300 people die each day in their homes in England and Wales," he commented. He suggested these deaths would normally have occurred in hospital. "People have either been reluctant to go, discouraged from attending, or the services have been disrupted," Prof Spiegelhalter added.

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