In this briefing The Health Foundation provides an overview of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on social care in England. In part 1 they describe how the pandemic unfolded in the social care sector from March until June 2020, and in part 2 they examine the factors that contributed to the scale and severity of outbreaks in care homes. In part 3 they attempt to quantify the disruption to health and social care access from February until the end of April 2020.
- The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a profound impact on people receiving and providing social care in England. Since March, there have been more than 30,500 deaths among care home residents than we would normally expect, and a further 4,500 excess deaths among people receiving care in their own homes (domiciliary care).
- There has been a greater proportional increase in deaths among domiciliary care users than in care homes (225% compared to 208%). And while deaths in care homes have now returned to average levels for this time of year, the latest data (up until 19 June) shows that there have continued to be excess deaths reported among domiciliary care users.
- Social care workers are among the occupational groups at highest risk of COVID-19 mortality, with care home workers and home carers accounting for the highest proportion (76%) of COVID-19 deaths within this group.
- During March and April, there was a substantial reduction in hospital admissions among care home residents. Elective admissions reduced to 58% of the 5-year historical average and emergency admissions to 85% of the 5-year historical average. By reducing admissions, care home and NHS teams may have reduced the risk of transmission, but there may have also been an increase in unmet health needs.
- During March and April, discharges from hospitals to residential care homes were 75% of the historical average, while discharges from hospitals to nursing homes increased to 120% of the historical average. These difficult decisions to discharge patients were made in an urgent and uncertain context but may have played a role in transferring risk to a poorly supported social care system.