Characteristics and consequences of falls among older adult trauma patients: Considerations for injury prevention programs

Aust Occup Ther J. 2017 Oct;64(5):350-357. doi: 10.1111/1440-1630.12380. Epub 2017 May 15.


Background/aim: Health promotion and prevention is an important component of occupational therapy practice. Falls are one of the most common causes of ER visits among older adults and injurious falls requiring trauma care can have a significant impact on the health and quality of life of elders. The aim of this study was to compare characteristics and consequences of falls among older adult trauma patients across different age groups with an eye towards informing injury prevention programs.

Methods: A retrospective study using the trauma database from a level one trauma centre in the U.S. (N = 711) was conducted. We compared patient and fall characteristics across age groups and then used logistic regression to estimate odds ratios for hospital length of stay >4 days, discharge disposition, and injury severity (ISS >15).

Results: Associations between age group and fall height, location and alcohol use at the time of the fall were statistically significant (P < 0.0001). As compared to the reference group (85 and older), younger age groups had lower odds ratios for discharge to a facility for rehabilitation.

Conclusion: Results highlight differences among age groups of fallers admitted for trauma care and can help to inform injury prevention programs related to outdoor and indoor falls.

Keywords: falls; geriatric trauma; injury prevention.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Length of Stay
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Patient Discharge / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality of Life
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Trauma Centers / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control*