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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Charity demands greater protection for care home residents

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Deaths among older people in care homes in Scotland soars

Age Scotland wants greater protection for care home residents as coronavirus deaths soar.

It comes as the total number of deaths in Scotland linked to coronavirus has risen to 1,616, new statistics have shown.

The National Records of Scotland figures include all deaths where coronavirus was believed to have been present, rather than just confirmed cases.

They showed that 651 deaths were registered between 13 and 19 April - up from 610 the previous week.

A third of the deaths were recorded in care homes.

Age Scotland is calling for greater efforts to protect residents after it was revealed some 384 care homes have a current outbreak, where one resident has displayed symptoms in the last 14 days.

Brian Sloan, Age Scotland’s chief executive said : “In the last week, we have heard about dozens of deaths in Dumbarton, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, as the virus sweeps through homes in Scotland. It must be absolutely terrifying for residents, staff and families as they wonder where the next outbreak will be.

“These are not just statistics – each one is a mother, father, grandparent, sibling or friend who will be deeply missed.

“It is so important that older people in care homes or who are receiving social care in their own home are given every opportunity to get the medical treatment they need to beat this virus and are not written off.

“Every person’s life matters and many older people have made full recoveries with the right treatment. Decisions must be made on a case-by-case basis, and any blanket policies based on a person’s age or residence would be blatant discrimination.

"We urgently need to redouble efforts to protect the most vulnerable people and ensure that care homes are not treated as a second tier. Staff on the front lines must be supported with access to all of the lifesaving equipment they need, as well as more widespread testing.”

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "It's not unusual for people to become sick in care homes. Residents are often frail and nearing the end of their lives.

"But that does not mean that we consider any of these cases to be inevitable or that we don't do everything we possibly can to prevent them.

"Older people in care homes require as much, if not more, support and protection as anyone else in our society and we're working with care homes and other partners to provide that."

The National Records of Scotland (NRS) figures also showed that the total number of people who died in Scotland in the week to 19 April was 1,911 - nearly 80% higher than the average number registered in the same week over the past five years (1,067).

Of these 844 excess deaths, three quarters were deaths where Covid-19 was the underlying cause, while 38 were attributed to cancer and 83 to dementia and Alzheimers.

More than 100 of the "excess" deaths for that week are still to be explained, and Ms Sturgeon said "this is an issue we need to do further work on to make sure we understand it fully".

Doctors have urged people to continue to come forward with non-coronavirus health concerns, with referral rates for suspected cancer cases falling by 72%.



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