Intended for healthcare professionals


Covid-19: Neglect was one of biggest killers in care homes during pandemic, report finds

BMJ 2021; 375 doi: (Published 22 December 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;375:n3132
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

The pandemic has disproportionately affected people living in care homes, who accounted for an estimated 30% of all deaths from covid-19 across 25 countries despite making up only 1% of the world’s population, a report has estimated.1

The analysis was carried out by Collateral Global, a research group that says it is dedicated to reporting on the effects of governments’ mandatory covid-19 mitigation measures. The report said the pandemic had exacerbated long running problems in the care sector, such as chronic underfunding, poor structural organisation, staff undertraining, underskilling, and underequipping, and a “lack of humanity in dealing with the most vulnerable members of society.”

“Neglect, thirst, and hunger were—and possibly still are—the biggest killers,” the group said. They also said that care home residents faced barriers in access to emergency treatments during the pandemic.

To carry out the analysis the group used national datasets on mortality from 25 countries, 17 cohort studies comparing deaths with a previous period, and 16 cohort studies reporting interventions or factors associated with excess mortality. The countries they looked at included the UK, US, Australia, Belgium, France, Canada, Israel, and France, but they emphasised that the …

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