Thousands more dying at home from non-Covid illnesses than usual, ONS reveals

20 October 2020, 00:53

There has been a signficant rise in the number of non-Covid deaths at home
There has been a signficant rise in the number of non-Covid deaths at home. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

There has been a significant increase in the number of people dying at home compared to previous years, new ONS data has revealed.

A report found that over 26,000 extra deaths in private homes were recorded in England and Wales than the five-year average - many not involving Covid-19.

The analysis shows that between March and September 2020, there were 24,387 more deaths in England and 1,644 in Wales than expected.

The largest increase in deaths compared with five-year average was in people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease - figures show an increase of 75% private homes this year.

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In England, heart diseases was the leading cause of death in private homes for males - accounting for 18.8% of all male deaths in that time.

Heart disease deaths in hospital, however, dropped by over 22%, prompting concern that many patients are still avoiding hospital treatment due to fears of catching Covid-19.

The Government launched a campaign in April to encourage people feeling unwell to seek medical attention and go to hospital if necessary after A&E admissions were found to be significantly below average.

Professor of Applied Statistics at The Open University, Kevin McConway, said: “This new statistical bulletin from ONS provides relevant information for those of us - including me - who have been concerned for some time that numbers of deaths in people’s homes have been running well above the average level from recent years.

"At the height of the pandemic in April and May, there were many more deaths in every kind of location than the average level over the last five years, and a great number of them involved Covid-19.

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"But since the end of May, the pattern has been different, numbers of deaths in hospitals fell to below their average level of the time of year, and to a lesser extent the same thing happened in care homes."

In England, deaths due to COVID-19 was the seventh leading cause of death in private homes while for females it was the 11th leading cause.

Other fatal health issues causing high-than-average deaths at home include various types of cancers and respiratory diseases.