Deaths at home from dementia and Alzheimer's soar during coronavirus

England and Wales both see large rise in mortality rates in private residences from both diseases

Rory Sullivan@RorySullivan92
Monday 19 October 2020 13:54
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There has been a rise in the number of people with dementia and Alzheimer's dying at home in England and Wales during the pandemic. 
There has been a rise in the number of people with dementia and Alzheimer's dying at home in England and Wales during the pandemic. 

Deaths from Alzheimer’s and dementia have soared by almost 80 per cent in private homes in England during the pandemic, data shows.

Newly released figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that there were 2,905 excess fatalities from these diseases between 14 March and 11 September.

This is 79 per cent higher than the five-year average for the same sixth months.

Wales saw an even sharper spike in the number of deaths from these conditions than England did, with 133 excess deaths constituting a 94 per cent rise from the average.

Overall, the number of excess deaths in private homes in England and Wales over the same period were 24,387 and 1,644 respectively.

The biggest cause of these deaths during the pandemic was ischaemic heart disease, according to the ONS.

Sarah Caul, head of mortality at ONS, said: "While deaths in hospitals and care homes have dropped below the five-year average since the initial peak of the coronavirus pandemic, we've consistently seen deaths in private homes remain well above the five-year average.

"We have seen an overall increase of deaths as well as a redistribution of various causes of death. For instance, while deaths of heart disease are below average in hospital, it has been above average at home.”

Ms Caul added that the same was true of men dying from prostate cancer and women dying from Alzheimer’s.

David Spiegelhalter, a professor at the University of Cambridge, said the ONS numbers reveal that the extra deaths show “no sign of declining”, with around 400 people dying at home each day, compared to 300 on average. 

Very few of these extra deaths are caused by Covid-19, Prof David Spiegelhalter said.

“It is unclear how many of these lives could have been extended had they gone to hospital, for example among the 450 extra deaths from cardiac arrhythmias,” he added.

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