Changing patterns of mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic

27th July 2020

Researchers based at the Cicely Saunders Institute have published an analysis of mortality data during the COVID-19 pandemic to identify implications for palliative care services planning and research.

The researchers looked at all deaths registered in England and Wales between March and May 2020. In the first ten weeks of the pandemic there were 101,614 deaths, 41,105 COVID-19 deaths and 14,520 additional deaths.

Deaths in care homes increased by 220% while home and hospital deaths increased by 77% and 90% respectively. Hospice deaths fell by 20%. 86% of additional deaths were in people over 75. Most of these were in care homes (56%) or at home (43%).

The researchers call for palliative care services to be provided for people with severe COVID-19 particularly in care homes. Integrated models of palliative care in care home settings is key, and research to underpin these models is needed.

Bone AE, Finucane AM, Leniz J, Higginson IJ, Sleeman KE. Changing patterns of mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic: Population-based modelling to understand palliative care implications. Palliative Medicine. Published online 24 July 2020. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269216320944810