Objective: To estimate the burden of hospitalised fall-related injury in community-dwelling older people in Victoria.
Methods: We analysed fall-related, person-identifying hospital discharge data and patient-level hospital treatment costs for community-dwelling older people aged 65+ years from Victoria between 1 July 2005 and 30 June 2008, inclusive. Key outcomes of interest were length of stay (LOS)/episode, cumulative LOS (CLOS)/patient and inpatient costs.
Results: The burden of hospitalised fall-related injury in community-dwelling older people aged 65+ years in Victoria was 284,781 hospital bed days in 2005-06, rising to 310,031 hospital bed days in 2007-08. Seventy-one per cent of episodes were multiday. One in 15 acute care episodes was a high LOS outlier and 14% of patients had ≥1 episode classified as high LOS outlier. The median CLOS/patient was nine days (interquartile range 2-27). The annual costs of inpatient care, in June 2009 prices, for fall-related injury in community-dwelling people aged 65+ years in Victoria rose from $213 million in 2005-06 to $237 million in 2007-08. The burden of hospitalised fall-related injury in community-dwelling older women, people aged 85+ years and those with comorbidity was considerable.
Conclusions: The burden of hospitalised fall-related injury in community-dwelling older people aged 65+ years in Victoria is significantly more than previously projected. Importantly, this study identifies that women, patients with comorbidity and those aged 85+ years account for a considerable proportion of this burden.
Implications: A corresponding increase in falls prevention effort is required to ensure that the burden is properly addressed.
Keywords: falls; hospitalisation; inpatient costs; length of stay; older people.
© 2014 The Authors. ANZJPH © 2014 Public Health Association of Australia.