BLOG SERIES - Dramatic increase in deaths at home- No.4

This month, our fourth blog in the 'Deaths at Home' series, shows that there is still an increase in deaths at home, even with very few Covid-19 home deaths.

What the data analysis shows

The number of deaths recorded at home (or other non-institutions) over time is illustrated in the above graph, with 2021 figures near the start of the graph at the far left. The red line shows deaths from any cause, with the blue line showing non Covid-19 related deaths: the gap between the two lines represents deaths related to Covid-19,  with the overall picture for 2021 showing few such deaths at home.

The graph above shows the number of home deaths in week 21 (ending 30 May 2021), is lower than it was this time last year (end of May 2020) but the levels of home deaths remain significantly higher than during the five years before (shaded grey area).

Since week 13, there have been five or fewer deaths due to Covid-19 per week, which is a marked improvement over the same period last year, when the levels of covid deaths at home were highest. Last year in week 15, at the peak of the pandemic, there were more than 60 Covid-related deaths (nearly 11% of all deaths recorded) at home that week.

The decrease of all deaths and particularly covid-related deaths since the start of 2021 is similar to the curve following the initial peak in March 2020 of home deaths, when the pandemic first started in the UK.

Death total for period up to 31 May 2021

The trend of increased home deaths shows no signs of disappearing for now.

In 2021 there were two dips in the numbers, in week 18 and week 13 but both times, the numbers have gone back up the following week.

A total of 29,721 deaths have been recorded as occurring at home & other non-institutional settings,  between the start of 2020 and week 21 (commencing 24 May 2021). In comparison, if we added the weekly averages for the same period during 2015-2019, we would expect 21,939 deaths. Therefore we can calculate that there has been an increase of 35.5% in home deaths, during the pandemic.

The total number of deaths recorded as being Covid-related (Covid being either the underlying cause of death, or one of the contributory causes), as of week 21 is 669 (approximately 2.3% of all deaths at home)

What next?

In the next blog we will look at the causes of death recorded for deaths at home and how they changed during the pandemic.

Further Information

Please contact our Health & Social Care research group if you wish to discuss any of the content of this blog.

This article was published on 07 Jun 2021


Jan Savinc