Mortality in week 20 also below average among long-term care users

More recent figures are available on this topic. View the latest figures here.
© Hollandse Hoogte / Arie Kievit
In week 20 (ending 17 May), the number of deaths among people receiving long-term care stood at approximately 1,030, i.e. around 150 below the number recorded over week 19. Mortality therefore dropped below the average over weeks 1 to 10 and below the expected mortality for this time of year. This concerns people who received care based on the Long-term Care Act (Wlz). They primarily include people receiving care in nursing and care homes. In the same week, mortality also declined among the rest of the population to over 200 below expected mortality for this time of year. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the population of nursing and care home residents has declined by over 5 thousand. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) on the basis of provisional weekly death counts.

The death count among long-term care users is based on the number of death certificates received by CBS until 26 May 2020 inclusive, combined with CAK data on people receiving care under the Long-term Care Act (Wlz). At the end of 2018, around 299 thousand people in the Netherlands were claiming care under this Act. Of this group, 123 thousand were residents of a nursing or care home.

Deaths registered weekly, 2020*
TypeAverage week 1 to 10 inclusiveWeek 11Week 12Week 13Week 14Week 15Week 16Week 17Week 18Week 19Week 20
Long-term care (Wlz) users11621200133516562211240820661716142611831028
Other population19742015227427942869256422262177194217811707
* provisional figures

On a weekly basis, around 1,160 Wlz-care users on average passed away in the first ten weeks of this year (i.e. over the period ending 8 March). This number had more than doubled by week 15 to approximately 2,400 deaths. By week 20, mortality in this group amounted to around 1,050 deaths, below the weekly average recorded over the first ten weeks of this year and almost 100 less than the expected level for this time of year.

Among the rest of the Dutch population not using long-term care (other population), the number of deaths rose from an average 1,972 per week in the first ten weeks of 2020 to 2,867 in week 14. This was followed by a drop to slightly over 2,200 in week 16. Compared to expected mortality for this time of year, week 20 mortality was lower by over 200. It is a commonly known fact that periods of elevated mortality are often followed by periods of low mortality; the latter is also known as undermortality.

Mortality among care users lower than usual

A significant rise in mortality was recorded among people using long-term (Wlz) care as of week 13. Relative to the first ten weeks of 2020, in week 15 mortality was approximately 2.3 times higher among people aged 65 to 79 years and more than twice as high among people aged 80 and over. A decline set in in week 16 across the different age groups. This decline slowed down in week 17 and 18. In week 20, the only group without undermortality were people aged 65 to 79 years who were receiving long-term care. There was 10 percent lower mortality than expected among people aged 80 and over.

Mortality has declined across all age groups among the population not receiving long-term care since week 14. In the meantime, mortality recorded over week 20 is 10 to 15 percent lower than expected for this time of year across all age groups.

Deaths registered weekly, 2020*
TypeLeeftijdAverage week 1 to 10 inclusiveWeek 11Week 12Week 13Week 14Week 15Week 16Week 17Week 18Week 19Week 20
Long-term care (Wlz) users0 to 64 yrs3845485066644444472629
Long-term care (Wlz) users65 to 79 yrs177182222278376414367293240194177
Long-term care (Wlz) users80 yrs and over9479731065132817691930165513791139963822
Other population0 to 64 yrs359362399448431413379407394356326
Other population65 to 79 yrs744767857112111261020858856756711646
Other population80 yrs and over8708861018122513121131989914792714735
* provisional figures

Declining number of residents in nursing and care homes

As of 18 May 2020, there are approximately 121.7 thousand people residing in a nursing or care home receiving long-term care based on the Wlz. This is lower than the number recorded on 9 March, the onset of the corona crisis, by more than 5 thousand. The main cause of this decline in number of residents is the elevated mortality combined with a reduced inflow of new nursing home residents as of mid-March. Approximately half of the inflow into nursing and care homes are existing long-term care users who move there for the first time. As for the outflow, more than 90 percent is death-related.

Inflow and outflow of long-term care (Wlz) users at nursing and care homes, 2020*
WeekInflowOutflow (mainly death-related)
* provisional figures

In previous news releases, CBS reported estimates of recent developments in the nursing and care home population. Based on the latest data on long-term care (Wlz) users, there is not as much decline in the nursing and care home population as was reported previously.

According to the initial estimate, the number of residents would have declined by 15 thousand. The decline among long-term care users residing in an institution amounts to over 5 thousand, based on more recent data. This discrepancy is mainly due to revised methodology. A previous news release did show the inflow based on the registered number of people moving out of private households into a nursing or care home; but the figures did not include the flows originating from other types of care. The latest data are therefore of higher quality than the estimates published previously.