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Dozens of English care homes lost at least 20 residents to Covid, data show | Coronavirus

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Dozens of care homes in England lost at least 20 residents to Covid-19 during the pandemic, according to highly sensitive data published by the care regulator, with one home registering 44 deaths over the past year.

The Quality of Care Commission (CQC) found that 6,765 homes across the country recorded at least one death between April 10, 2020 and March 31, 2021, highlighting the devastating impact of the crisis on vulnerable residents.

At least 30 deaths were reported from 21 homes. There were 44 deaths in Bedford Care House in Wigan, owned by major private home care operator Advinia, and 41 deaths recorded by Calway House in Taunton, owned by Somerset Care, a non-profit operator.

The CQC had refused to publish death rate data for nearly a year, despite pressure from residents’ families and freedom of information demands from journalists, on the grounds that it would undermine confidence in the already fragile residential care home market, mainly privately owned.

In total, there were 39,017 in-home care deaths during this period, prompting new criticism of governments failing to stop the outbreak in the residential care sector and its failure to address years of underfunding and staff shortages.

The highest number of home care deaths during this period were recorded in the south-east region of England (7,404), followed by the north-west (5,748) and the east of England (4,943). The fewest deaths were recorded in London (2,635).

Given these data, it is important to remember that each number represents a lost life and families, friends and those who cared for them have to deal with the grief and consequences of their death, said Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of CQCs to increase. social care

In a statement, the CQC suggested that its turn to publishing the data came in part after discussions with families who had lost their loved ones by Covid. This helped shape our thinking about the very sensitive issue of publishing information about death notices on a door-to-door basis.

We have a duty to be transparent and to act in the public interest, and we have pledged to publish data at this level, but only once do we feel able to do so as accurately and securely as possible, by given the complexity and sensitivity of the data, Terroni said.

However, the CQC warned that the data should be handled with care because they were not a reliable guide to the quality of care or safety in individual care homes. Homes are required to record residents’ deaths even if they died in hospital or if they contracted the virus elsewhere.

There are currently about 15,000 care homes inspected by the CQC. Other factors that potentially lead to high mortality rates include the prevalence of Covid infections in the local community, the availability of PPE, and the number of residents who were discharged from the hospital home without being tested for the virus during the early stages of the pandemic. .

About 25,000 people were allowed to return to care homes without a Covid test between March 17 and April 15 last year, despite a plea to the government from home providers to outlaw the practice. This is believed to have enabled the virus to spread rapidly through homes populated by elderly and vulnerable residents.

Care home owners reportedly were unhappy with the publication of the data because of the risk that it would be misinterpreted. Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, who represents care providers, said every death had to be seen in context. We do not believe that this data is a reflection of quality.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Welfare insisted the government had done everything it could to protect protect vulnerable people throughout the pandemic, saying: We have provided billions of pounds to support the sector, including infection control and prevention measures, free PPE, priority vaccines and additional testing.

James White, head of public affairs and campaigning at the Alzheimers Society, said the data showed the devastating and tragic consequences of governments failing to protect care homes at the onset of the pandemic and the damage caused by years of underfunding.

Hugh Alderwick, head of policy at the Health Foundation, said CQC data showed how government support for social care during the pandemic was often too small, too late, especially during the first wave. Governments claim that a protective ring around care homes was not based on reality.

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