Findings from the 2022 LeDeR report into the avoidable deaths of people with learning disabilities

The LeDeR report published at the end of last year says that there has been a ‘gentle but continuous improvement’ in the average age of death for people with a learning disability in 2022 from 61.8 years in 2018 to 62.9 with a similar improvement in the age of death for children.

The 2022 report is the first year that LeDeR reviewed deaths of autistic adults without a learning disability, due to concerns that autistic people may also experience health inequalities that could lead to avoidable deaths. Of the 36 reviews completed, the data suggests the need for improvements in areas, such as better mental health care, given deaths by suicide, misadventure or accidental death.

Ten of the key findings of review of lives and deaths for 2022

  1. Avoidable deaths: A fall in the numbers since 2021 where 42% of deaths were deemed “avoidable” for people with a learning disability in 2022 compared to 50% in 2021. However this compares with 22% of the general population.
  2. Geography: Over 20% of deaths recorded were from the Midlands region.
  3. Ethnicity: People from minority groups died younger.
  4. Deprivation: 25% of people with a learning disability who died in 2022 lived in the most deprived neighbourhoods.
  5. Care Pathways: Need to improve these in areas such as, cancer, lung, heart, and circulatory conditions.
  6. Climate: Excess deaths of people with a learning disability during heatwaves: need for care home providers and hospitals to be better prepared to support this group, particularly in light of climate change.
  7. Coroners: An increase in the number of deaths reported to a coroner from 19% in 2021 to 25% in 2022.  However this is compared to 36% of deaths in the general population.
  8. Care: The data reflects a strong association between access to appropriate care and reductions in premature deaths reflecting that ‘when the right level of care is provided, the level of risk goes down’. The report says that care packages that meet a person’s needs and have an appropriate use of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards to deliver care are associated with a reduced risk of a premature death. Concerns about the quality of care are reducing.
  9. Mental Capacity Act: The MCA was followed correctly in three quarters of deaths in 2022 where it was deemed relevant.
  10. Good Practice: Nine out of 10 reviews included evidence of good practice

You can read the full report here and the infographic facts here.

Overall, there are positives from the data analysis but there is still work to be done.

If you are a commissioner or provider of mental health services and or learning disability services and would like to discuss any of the issues raised here or require support with Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards or care packages do get in touch. We have an expert and friendly team.         

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