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Significant increase in deaths of people in care with learning disabilities

The number of people with learning disabilities in care who have died has more than doubled, according to new figures from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Figures published today (2 June) show that between 10 April and 15 May this year, 386 people with a learning disability and who were receiving care from services died.

This CQC said this represents a 134% increase in the number of death notifications over the same time period last year, when 165 deaths were recorded.

And 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.

The CQC added that of these people 184 people were receiving care from community-based adult social care services and 195 from residential social care settings.

Overall, in 2020 the number of care home ‘beds’ registered with CQC to provide specialist learning disability and/or autism care, excluding care to older people or those with dementia, was 30,912.

In 2019 that figure was 32,217.

The watchdog said it is now undertaking a targeted piece of work to review death notifications and how it work with providers to ensure the data provided to us is both accurate and accessible.

This includes identifying the best approach to capture the impact on autistic people as part of this reporting.

‘Every death in today’s figures represents an individual tragedy for those who have lost a loved one,’ said the CQC’s chief inspector of adult social care, Kate Terroni.

‘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.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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