Deaths at home during the Covid-19 pandemic in Scotland

Status: Active

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen a large increase in the number of people dying at home. Deaths at home have increased by 36% relative to pre-pandemic levels. Only about 2% of those deaths were Covid-19 related, with most deaths happening due to other causes. 

This project builds on ADR Scotland’s earlier work, exploring the increase in deaths at home during the Covid-19 pandemic and its implications for end-of-life care and health service usage.

The data

The project will use the following datasets:

  • National Records of Scotland deaths records
  • Community Health Index registry data
  • Unique Property Reference Numbers (used to identify the number of household members living with individuals in the cohort, and to address changes in the last year of life)
  • Scottish Morbidity Record (SMR) datasets: SMR01 (acute hospital admissions), SMR04 (psychiatric admissions), SMR06 (cancer registrations)
  • Unscheduled care datasets: NHS 24 calls, Scottish Ambulance Service use, A&E admissions, out-of-hours general practitioner episodes
  • Prescription data (using data on payments via the Data Capture Validation and Pricing system)
  • Hospital proximity calculations
  • Monthly hospital bed occupancy data (from aggregated Information Services Division (ISD) hospital activity data – i.e. ISD(S)1).

Potential of the research

This project will address the following key questions:

  • How was the population dying at home during the pandemic period different to the population during the pre-pandemic period, in terms of demographics, clinical characteristics, and health service usage?
  • Did the shift to deaths at home vary across the country (by region), and what factors explain the shift in addition to the pressures from the pandemic?
  • What are the implications of the shift on the quality of care received by people dying at home?
  • What are the implications for both unpaid and paid carers?

Project details

Project leads: Jan SavincIain Atherton, Michelle Jamieson

Start date: February 2021

This project is funded by ADR Scotland via its core grant from the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) as an ADR UK partner.

Further details are available at the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (SCADR) website.

Categories: Research using linked data, ADR Scotland, Health & Wellbeing

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