Economic analysis of a community-based falls prevention program

Public Health. 2006 Aug;120(8):742-51. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2006.04.011. Epub 2006 Jul 5.


Objectives: To undertake a cost-benefit analysis of 'Stay on Your Feet', a community-based falls prevention program targeting older people at all levels of risk in New South Wales, Australia. Hospital separations were monitored in the intervention region, a control region and for the state of New South Wales as a whole. Changing admission patterns over the intervention period were used to assess the impact of the program.

Methods: Cost-benefit analysis compared the costs of the program with two estimates of savings from avoided hospital admissions. The first compared the cost of hospital admissions in the intervention region to a control region of similar demographics, while the second compared hospital utilization in the intervention region with the state of New South Wales as a whole using falls-related hospital diagnosis related group (DRG) codes.

Results: The total direct costs of the program were estimated at A dollars 781,829. Both methods identified clear overall net benefits ranging from A dollars 5.4 million for avoided hospitalizations alone to A dollars 16.9 million for all avoided direct and indirect costs. The confidence intervals around these estimates were small. The average overall benefit to cost ratio for the intervention as a whole was 20.6:1.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that well-designed community-based interventions targeting falls prevention among older people are highly cost effective and a wise investment for all levels of government. The models used are conservative and are likely to underestimate the real benefit of the intervention, which may have lasted for some time beyond the life of the program.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Aged
  • Community Health Services / economics*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Health Promotion / economics
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Hospitalization / economics
  • Humans