Fall Prevention

The need to focus on Falls among Older People

Falls are common among older people

  • More than one in four people aged 65 or over have at least one fall per year and many fall more than once. Falls are even more common among residents of aged care facilities, up to half of whom fall at least once a year.

Fall-related injury is a major cause of morbidity and mortality for older people

  • In 2009 26% of NSW residents aged 65 years or older fell at least once.
  • In NSW each year falls lead to approximately 27,000 hospitalisations and at least 400 deaths in people aged 65 years and older. The rate (age-standardised) of hospitalisations for falls is over three times higher among residents of aged care facilities than among the other older people.
  • Age-standardised rates of fall-related hospitalisations among older have been increasing for more than 10 years.
  • Even non-injuries falls can have negative impacts such as loss of confidence and activity restriction.
  • Falls are the most commonly reported adverse event among hospital inpatients.

Falls generate substantial costs for the health care system and aged care system

  • Hospital stays and rehabilitation can be long and expensive. Having had a recent fall is one of the leading reasons for premature admission to residential aged care.
  • In NSW, no other single injury cause, including road trauma, costs the health system more than fall injury.
  • In NSW in 2006/07 the total cost of health care associated with fall injury was estimated at $558.5 million. Hospital admitted cases accounted for an estimated 84.5% of total costs and ED presentations for 9% of total costs.

The burden from fall related harm among older people will grow unless action is taken.

  • Projections indicate that without preventative action, the health system costs from fall injury are likely to show a dramatic escalation due to expected large increase in the number of older people in NSW in upcoming years.

Falls can be prevented

  • There has been extensive research demonstrating that many falls among older people can be prevented, even in frail older people.Reference for the above from – Prevention of Falls and Harm from Falls among Older People 2011-2015 NSW Health

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