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Trends and Characteristics of Emergency Department Visits for Fall-Related Injuries in Older Adults, 2003-2010

Trends and Characteristics of Emergency Department Visits for Fall-Related Injuries in Older Adults, 2003-2010

Western Journal of Emergency Medicine 18(5): 785-793

One third of older adults fall each year, and falls are costly to both the patient in terms of morbidity and mortality and to the health system. Given that falls are a preventable cause of injury, our objective was to understand the characteristics and trends of emergency department (ED) fall-related visits among older adults. We hypothesize that falls among older adults are increasing and examine potential factors associated with this rise, such as race, ethnicity, gender, insurance and geography. We conducted a secondary analysis of data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) to determine fall trends over time by examining changes in ED visit rates for falls in the United States between 2003 and 2010, detailing differences by gender, sociodemographic characteristics and geographic region. Between 2003 and 2010, the visit rate for falls and fall-related injuries among people age ≥ 65 increased from 60.4 (95% confidence interval [CI][51.9-68.8]) to 68.8 (95% CI [57.8-79.8]) per 1,000 population (p=0.03 for annual trend). Among subgroups, visits by patients aged 75-84 years increased from 56.2 to 82.1 per 1,000 (P <.01), visits by women increased from 67.4 to 81.3 (p = 0.04), visits by non-Hispanic Whites increased from 63.1 to 73.4 (p < 0.01), and visits in the South increased from 54.4 to 71.1 (p=0.03). ED visit rates for falls are increasing over time. There is a national movement to increase falls awareness and prevention. EDs are in a unique position to engage patients on future fall prevention and should consider ways they can also partake in such initiatives in a manner that is feasible and appropriate for the ED setting.

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Accession: 060425225

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 28874929

DOI: 10.5811/westjem.2017.5.33615

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