Conflicting trends in fall-related injury hospitalisations among older people

Variations by injury type

W. L. Watson*, R. Mitchell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)


Summary: Despite advances in prevention, fall-related hospitalisation rates among older people are still increasing. Rates between 1998/1999 and 2008/2009 for non-facturerelated injuries increased by 6.1% while fracture injuries declined by-0.4%. Varying trends in rates of different injurytypes makes it difficult to provide a definitive explanation for these changes. Introduction: Despite advances in fall prevention research and practice, the rate of fall-related hospitalisations continues to increase. However, hip fracture rates appear to be declining. An examination of trends in types of injuries that contribute to the overall fall injuryrate is required to establish which injuries are driving the falls admission rate. The aim of this paper is to examine trends in fall-related injuryhospital admissions by injurytype in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Methods: A retrospective review of fall-related injuryhospitalisations in NSW among individuals aged 65+years, by injurytype, was conducted from 1 July 1998 to 30 June 2009. Direct age-standardised admission rates were calculated. Negative binomial regression was used to examine the statistical significance of changes in trend over time of different hospitalised fall-related injuries. Results: The fall-related hospitalisation rate increased by 1.7% each year (p<0.0001; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.3-2.1%). However, the rate of fracture declined by-0.4% (p<0.03; 95% CI,-0.8-0.0%); whereas, the non-fracture rate increased by 6.1% (p<0.0001; 95% CI, 5.5-6.7%) annually. Rates for severe head injuries, rib and pelvic fracture increased while those for hip and forearm fracture declined. Conclusions: It appears that while fall prevention efforts in NSW are not yet affecting the overall rate of injuryhospitalisation, there has been a significant decline in the rates of some fractures. Opposing trends in the rates of other fracture admissions and a significant increase in the rate of non-fracture injuries associated with falls makes a definitive explanation for these changes difficult.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2623-2631
Number of pages9
JournalOsteoporosis International
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes

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