Alzheimer’s Society respond to the Prime Minister’s statement on care homes and coronavirus
Gavin Terry, Head of Policy said:
‘We haven’t seen any evidence to suggest that deaths in care homes are slowing down, and any other implication would be dangerously complacent. In the past month, we know that the number of people who have died in care homes is twice the average; in the last week alone we saw the death rate rise by 30%.
And it is not only deaths due to coronavirus that we fear – we are concerned there will be a sharp rise in deaths due to dementia, not least because of the impact of isolation, when the full figures are known.
‘It is a terribly worrying time for everyone with dementia and their families, and we hear heart-breaking stories every day via our Dementia Connect support line from people anxious about the safety of their loved ones in care homes. Ministers have made welcome commitments to keep people safe but there can absolutely be no let up. The dreadful cost of not giving the care sector equal attention as the NHS is clear for all to see. Care staff and residents must get the regular testing they need, and adequate personal protective equipment must be available to every home until this virus is really under control.
‘The Government must also consider how to manage dementia more effectively in the event of a lengthy lockdown, with measures to support safe social contact. Without intervention, people with dementia will continue to die needlessly in these horrifying numbers.’