Objectives: Falls in the older adults are a major public health concern. The growing population of adults 65 years or older, advances in medical care and changes in the costs of care motivated our study of the acute health care costs of fall-related injuries among the older adults in the United States of America.
Design and settings: The Market Scan Medicare Supplemental database 1998 was used to estimate reimbursed costs for hospital, emergency department (ED), and outpatient clinic treatments for unintentional falls among older adults.
Results: A fall on the same level due to slipping, tripping, or stumbling was the most common mechanism of injury (28%). Mean hospitalisation cost was 17,483 US dollars(S.D.: 22,426 US dollars) in 2004 US dollars. Femur fracture was the most expensive type of injury (18,638 US dollars, S.D.: 19,990 US dollars). The mean reimbursement cost of an ED visit was 236 US dollars and 412 US dollars for an outpatient clinic visit.
Conclusion: The magnitude of the economic and social costs of falls in older adults underscores the need for active research in the field of falls prevention.