Care Home Deaths Now at Below Pre-Pandemic Levels for the First Time

The number of deaths in UK care homes has fallen below pre-Covid levels for the first time, according to new data.

The UK Government’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) yesterday (22 November) released its ‘Deaths of care home residents, England and Wales: 2021’ dataset.

In England, there were 127,171 deaths of care home residents registered in 2021 (wherever the death occurred); this is a decrease of 18.2% compared with 2020 (28,205 deaths), and a decrease of 3.2% compared with the pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic five-year average between 2015 and 2019 (4,213 deaths).

In Wales, there were 6,612 deaths of care home residents registered in 2021 (wherever the death occurred); this is a decrease of 19.7% compared with 2020 (1,624 deaths), and a decrease of 6.1% compared with the five-year average between 2015 and 2019 (429 deaths).

England had statistically significantly higher age-standardised mortality rates for male care home residents compared with Wales (12,097 and 9,564 deaths per 100,000 male care home residents respectively); the difference between female care home residents in England and Wales was not statistically significant (9,490 and 8,562 deaths per 100,000 female care home residents respectively).

Dementia and Alzheimer disease remains the leading cause of death in both male and female care home residents in England (accounting for 26.4% and 34.0% of deaths respectively) and Wales (28.3% and 36.2% respectively) in 2021; coronavirus (COVID-19) was the second highest leading cause of death in both male and female care home residents in England (11.5% and 10.8% respectively) and Wales (12.9% and 11.1% respectively).

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