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Is area deprivation associated with greater impacts of COVID-19 in care homes across England? A preliminary analysis of COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths


Introduction The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted care homes and vulnerable populations, exacerbating existing health inequalities. However, the role of area deprivation in shaping the impacts of COVID-19 in care homes is poorly understood. We examine whether area deprivation is linked to higher rates of COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths among care home residents across upper tier local authorities in England (n=149).

Methods We constructed a novel dataset from publicly available data. Using negative binomial regression models, we analysed the associations between area deprivation (Income Deprivation Affecting Older People Index (IDAOPI) and Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) extent) as the exposure and COVID-19 outbreaks, COVID-19-related deaths and all-cause deaths among care home residents as three separate outcomes—adjusting for population characteristics (size, age composition, ethnicity).

Results COVID-19 outbreaks in care homes did not vary by area deprivation. However, COVID-19-related deaths were more common in the most deprived quartiles of IDAOPI (incidence rate ratio (IRR): 1.23, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.47) and IMD extent (IRR: 1.16, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.34), compared with the least deprived quartiles.

Discussion These findings suggest that area deprivation is a key risk factor in COVID-19 deaths among care home residents. Future research should look to replicate these results when more complete data become available.

  • nursing
  • mortality
  • social inequalities
  • COVID-19

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