Pandemic sees ‘big shift’ towards more people dying at home in Wales
The pandemic has seen a big shift towards more people dying at home in Wales, a charity has said.
Data from the Nuffield Trust saw the number dying at home jump as high as 94.7 people per 100,000 in Pembrokeshire in 2020, compared with 86 in 2019.
All parts of Wales apart from Anglesey and Bridgend local authorities saw an increase in the number dying at home. Cardiff saw the lowest rate at 62 per 100,000, but this was an increase from 41.4 in 2019.
“The pandemic has seen a big shift towards more people dying at home, rapidly accelerating previous trends, and continuing even as Covid-19 deaths have declined and lockdowns have eased,” Laura Schlepper from the Nuffield Trust said.
“Where mortality rates are higher the population tends to be older. Additionally, there are higher rates of home deaths in rural areas and this pattern has become even more pronounced in 2021.”
Many people have a preference to die at home, and there has long been a health policy focus to enable more people to do so, she said.
However, she added that it was unclear whether the experience of dying at home during the pandemic had been a positive and dignified one.
“Further analysis is needed to understand the characteristics of people dying at home, such as socio-economic factors and availability of informal care, as well as the impact of structural factors such as deprivation, health inequalities and availability of and pressures on health and care services,” Laura Schlepper said.