The Covid-19 Pandemic and Care Homes for Older People in Europe - Deaths, Damage and Violations of Human Rights

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

European Journal of Social Work







Publisher Name

Taylor & Francis

Publisher Location

London UK


Throughout Europe the most damaging consequences of the coronavirus have fallen disproportionately on older people who live in care homes. This study involves the analysis of secondary data sources relating to deaths, and related harms, in European care homes from seven countries between March and December 2020. The findings are reviewed using the framework of the European Convention on Human Rights to identify examples of human rights violations - namely the right to life, liberty and security, respect for private and family life, and prohibition of torture, and general prohibition of discrimination. A significant contributing factor to the scale and nature of deaths and harms is the abject disregard of older people’s human rights. Based on the findings, the authors, a group of social work academics, call for an urgent re-examination of the role of social work in relationship to care homes and the importance of re-engaging with human rights issues for care home residents.


ISSN: 1468-2664


© 2021 Anand, J., Donnelly, S., Milne, A., Nelson-Becker, H., Vingare, E.-L., Deusdad, B., Cellini, E., Kinni, R.-L., & Pregno, C. Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.