Care UK, which manages 122 outbreaks in England and Scotland, revealed a 65% increase in deaths in just four days and said the virus had reached 70% of its outbreaks. Four Seasons Health Care, which operates 190 homes, said deaths had increased 60% in six days, with almost two out of three homes affected.
The ministers continued to quote a figure of 217 nursing home deaths in England and Wales, released last week by the Office for National Statistics with a three-week lag. But five of the largest suppliers contacted by the Guardian have now recorded at least 1,052 deaths among themselves from confirmed or suspected cases of Covid-19.
On Friday, 412 people died in homes operated by HC-One, Britain’s largest provider of nursing homes, an increase of one third in four days.
“Social protection is clearly on the front line, but we haven’t developed a full-blown battle plan,” said Vic Rayner, executive director of the National Care Forum, which represents the charitable home networks. The forum wants medical staff and clinical equipment to be targeted urgently in nursing homes.
Rayner said homes have been forced to “reconsider” how to treat the disease. “We are not focusing enough medical attention on how best to keep people safe in these environments. We have always known that these are the groups most at risk, but we have not responded to an unprecedented situation with an unprecedented plan as we have done in hospitals. “
Nursing homes in the UK are generally not staffed by doctors or registered nurses. The residents’ health is supervised by general practitioners, who have limited consultations to telephone or video calls to avoid contagion.
Doctors say this is enough to develop a treatment plan in most cases, but it has left some caregivers feeling isolated as the virus spreads through homes. In the largest networks, 50% to 70% of properties are affected – several times more than the 13.5% estimated by England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty last week.
MHA, the world’s largest nursing home charity, has recorded at least 251 deaths, an increase of 20% in three days. Barchester has reported 130 Covid-19 deaths, 66 more have died after hospital admission and cases in half of its 230 homes. Bupa, one of the largest providers, with more than 120 homes, declined to reveal its death toll, but said it was updating residents, relatives and the area regulator.
Care England, which represents some of the largest providers, estimated last week that the number of deaths in all nursing homes could already reach 7,500, while a National Care Forum survey suggested that more than 4,000 were died of Covid-19 in a British residential area. and nursing services for April 13.
These are the growing tolls that some bereaved parents have complained about the pressure from nursing home operators to organize the rapid elimination of the dead.
“Where there have been several deaths, nursing homes are putting pressure on families to [bodies] “Said Helen Wildbore, director of the Relative and Residents Association. “At a time when you are grieving and emotional, this is the last thing you want to think about.” She added that many funeral directors lacked the capacity to help in the short term.
Research by academics at the London School of Economics suggests that if the UK follows international trends, nursing homes could ultimately account for around half of all deaths from Covid-19.
Updated figures from the Long Term Care Policy Network show that in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, France, Belgium, Norway and Canada, the proportion of all Covid-19 deaths that occurred in homes of care ranged from 33% to 64%.
Dr. Richard Vautrey, chairman of the British Medical Association’s general practitioner committee, said: “We need to identify the patients in our nursing homes who would benefit from hospitalization. The concern that hospitals are overwhelmed has not been the case in most parts of the country. “
Some nursing homes were told by doctors at the onset of the crisis that they should not expect to send Covid-19 patients to hospitals, which should face extreme pressure on their capabilities from the general population. The ministers made it clear that this should not happen en masse and that each case should be judged on the merits.
Updated figures on deaths in nursing homes will not be available from the Quality Care Commission until April 28. He began asking nursing homes if people died of Covid-19 only on April 9, two and a half weeks after Boris Johnson announced the UK-wide foreclosure.