The number of people with learning disabilities dying in care has more than doubled during the coronavirus pandemic, according to new figures from the Care,Quality Commission.
Their analysis looked at all deaths notified to CQC between 10 April and 15 May from providers registered with CQC who provide care to people with a learning disability and/or autism (including providers of adult social care, independent hospitals and in the community), and where the person who died was indicated to have a learning disability on the death notification form.
This data shows that between 10 April and 15 May this year, 386 people with a learning disability, some of whom may also be autistic, died who were receiving care from services which provide support for people with a learning disability and/or autism. For the same period last year165 people with a learning disability, some of whom may also be autistic, died who were receiving care from services which provide support for people with a learning disability and/or autism.
This is a 134% increase in the number of death notifications this year. This new data should be considered when decisions are being made about the prioritisation of testing at a national and local level.
Of the 386 people who have died this year, 206 were as a result of suspected and/or confirmed COVID-19 as notified by the provider and 180 were not related to COVID-19.
184 people were receiving care from community based adult social care services and 195 from residential social care settings. In other settings* where we were notified of deaths the number in each setting was less than five people and cannot be reported for confidentiality reasons.
Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said;
“Every death in today’s figures represents an individual tragedy for those who have lost a loved one.
“While we know this data has its limitations what it does show is a significant increase in deaths of people with a learning disability as a result of COVID-19. We already know that people with a learning disability are at an increased risk of respiratory illnesses, meaning that access to testing could be key to reducing infection and saving lives.
“These figures also show that the impact on this group of people is being felt at a younger age range than in the wider population – something that should be considered in decisions on testing of people of working age with a learning disability.”