Trends in survival of older care home residents in England: a 10-year multi-cohort study

Ferran Espuny Pujol, Ruth Hancock, Marcello Morciano

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Increases in longevity combined with a policy emphasis on caring for older people in their own homes could have widened or narrowed the survival gap between care home and community-dwelling resident older people. Knowledge of pre-Covid-19 trends in this gap is needed to assess the longer-term impacts of the pandemic. We provide evidence for England on recent trends in 1, 2 and 3-year mortality amongst care home residents aged 65+ compared with similar community-dwelling residents. We use the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, a nationally representative primary care database. For each of the ten years from 2006 to 2015, care home and community-dwelling residents aged 65+ were identified and matched in the ratio 1:3, according to age, gender, area deprivation and region. Cox survival analyses were used to estimate mortality risks for care home residents in comparison with similar community-dwelling people, adjusting for age, gender, area deprivation and region. The study sample consisted of ten overlapping cohorts averaging 5,495 care home residents per cohort. Adjusted mortality risks increased over the study period for care home residents while decreasing slightly for matched community-dwelling residents. The relative risks (RRs) of mortality associated with care home residence were higher for younger ages and shorter follow-up periods, in all years. Over the decade, the RRs increased, most at younger ages and for shorter follow-up periods (e.g. for the age group 65–74 years, 1-year average RR increased by 61% from 5.4 to 8.8, while for those aged 85-94 years and over, 3-year RR increased by 22% from 1.3 to 1.6). Thus the survival gap between older care home and community-dwelling residents has been widening, especially at younger ages. In due course, it will be possible to establish to what extent the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in further growth in this gap.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113883
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Early online date31 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

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