Number of deaths at home has soared by 50% during coronavirus crisis amid fears that elderly and vulnerable patients are passing away alone with potentially treatable illnesses
- Number of Britons dying at home has risen by 51 per cent since the crisis began
- Yesterday 616 Covid-19 patients died in UK and taking the official toll to 18,783
- However growing concern that patients are dying from other illnesses at home
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Published: 17:08 EDT, 23 April 2020 | Updated: 18:27 EDT, 23 April 2020
The number of Britons dying at home has soared by 51 per cent since the crisis began.
This surge adds to fears that elderly and vulnerable patients, many reliant on home carers, are failing to seek help then dying alone with potentially treatable illnesses.
The virus death toll in hospitals is now declining. Yesterday 616 patients died, down from a peak of 980 and taking the official toll to 18,783.
Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said Britain had ‘reached a plateau, coming down slightly but not fast’, adding: ‘I’d expect that to continue for a couple of weeks and we will see a decline thereafter. We are very much heading in the right direction.’
As the UK grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, a surge in the Britons dying at home has added to fears that elderly and vulnerable patients are failing to seek help then dying alone. Yesterday 616 patients died from the virus- down from a peak of 980
But there is growing concern that patients are dying from other illnesses at home or in care homes.
Yesterday the Mail revealed how thousands of heart attack and stroke victims are waiting at least two hours 20 minutes for an ambulance.
And more than a million home care visits have been cancelled, meaning the most vulnerable people risk falling victim to other conditions.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show the number of weekly deaths at home increased by 51 per cent – an extra 1,392 deaths – over the four weeks until April 10.
Just 466 deaths were directly linked to coronavirus, though some people may have caught it but not had it recorded on their death certificate.
Experts have warned of a surge in people dying of other conditions outside hospitals. Professor David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University said: ‘People who don’t have Covid are not going to hospital. Attendances to A&E have dropped enormously.
‘People are very reluctant to go to hospital. This is collateral damage of the process we’re going through.’
There are 400,000 people in care homes in the UK and 810,000 more rely on home carers. Many have health issues that require frequent visits.
But thousands of visits from carers have been cancelled during the lockdown, leaving family and friends to cope.
A survey of nearly 5,000 unpaid carers by Carers UK reveals that they are carrying out an average 10 hours more work per week to help loved ones with personal care, practical tasks and emotional support.
Almost nine in ten say they worry about who will take over if they themselves have to self-isolate or become ill.
Helen Walker, head of Carers UK, said: ‘Unpaid carers are fighting the same battle as care staff and many of our NHS workers. Yet they do it behind closed doors.
‘Unlike our fantastic frontline workers they are unable to clock off from their caring responsibilities. Many are overwhelmed and incredibly anxious about how they will manage.
‘Unpaid carers are just as vital in the national effort to keep vulnerable people safe, yet many fear that continuing to care around the clock will lead to them burning out.
‘Carers tell us they feel ignored and invisible in this epidemic. The Government must ensure their physical and emotional well-being is supported at this challenging time and monitor the impact of the reduction in care services.’
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