Injuries due to falls

Falls are a significant cause of emergency hospital admissions for older people and are a major factor in people moving into nursing homes or residential care. However, many falls are preventable by removing hazards, addressing deterioration in muscle strength, balance and vision, and being vigilant for issues caused by medication.

How have hospital admissions for falls changed?

In 2012/13, the rate of hospital admissions for falls in people aged 65 and over was 1,652 per 100,000 (standardised for age and sex). Although this rate has been climbing for many years, this increase is slight and appears to have slowed recently. In the period between April 2006 and March 2010, falls increased by nine admissions per 100,000 per year, whereas in the period between April 2010 and December 2013, the rates increased by one admission per 100,000 per year.

Source: 

Health & Social Care Information Centre, Hospital Episode Statistics (copyright 2013, re-used with the permission of HSCIC. All rights reserved).

How do admissions for falls vary by deprivation?

There is a clear deprivation gradient in the rate of hospital admissions for falls, with the rate for the most deprived decile (2,185 per 100,000) being 1.6 times that of the least deprived decile (1,386 per 100,000). This finding is consistent with other studies, which have suggested that the association between socio-economic deprivation and hosptial admissions for falls is cause by patients in more deprived areas tending to have lower resilence to falls (either by multiple co-morbidity or a poor living environment/social support network), making admission to hospital more likely (West and others, Public Health 2006).

Source: 
Health & Social Care Information Centre, Hospital Episode Statistics (Copyright 2013, Re-used with the permission of the Health & Social Care Information Centre. All rights reserved)

How do hospital admissions for falls vary by age?

In 2012/13 the rate of hospital admission for falls decreased with age for both genders until people aged 30-34, with males having more admissions than females. From this point on rates of admission begin to increase slowly until people reach 60-64, then rates increase more steeply in females. Beyond the age of 60 rates of admission increase sharply, with rates of admission for females reaching nearly double that for males.

Source: 

Health & Social Care Information Centre, Hospital Episode Statistics (copyright 2013, re-used with the permission of HSCIC. All rights reserved).

How have hospital admissions for falls changed for older people?

The rate of hospital admissions for falls increases sharply with age. This is demonstrated by comparing the rates of admission for falls in people aged 65 to 79 with those for people aged 80 and over. In 2012/13, these were 920 per 100,000 and 4,944 per 100,000, respectively - five times greater. It can also be seen that the rate of admission increased more sharply for people aged 80 and over between April 2006 and December 2013 compared to people aged between 65 and 79.

Source: 

Health & Social Care Information Centre, Hospital Episode Statistics (copyright 2013, re-used with the permission of the HSCIC. All rights reserved).

About this data

See: West J, Hippisley-Cox J, Coupland CA, Price GM, Groom LM, Kendrick D, Webber E. Do rates of hospital admission for falls and hip fracture in elderly people vary by socio-economic status? Public Health. 2004 Dec;118(8):576-81.

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