The number of Australians in hospital because of falls is on the rise

Posted: 18 May 2018 4:30 am
Doctor speaking with patient

Doctor speaking with patient

Almost half of all hospitalisations for injuries are caused by falls.

Australians are more than three times more likely to end up in hospital due to a fall than from any other cause, according to the latest Trends in hospitalised injury Australia report from Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, which compared hospitalisation trends from 1999–00 to 2014–15, found that close to half (41%) of all hospitalisations for injuries were due to falls. The second closest reason was transport crashes at 12%.

External cause descriptionNumber%
Transport crash58,59112.1%
Accidental drowning and submersion5820.1%
Accidental poisoning10,0922.1%
Thermal causes5,8401.2%
Exposure to inanimate mechanical forces68,61814.2%
Exposure to animate mechanical forces20,1564.2%
Intentional self-harm28,1195.8%
Other external causes of accidental injury65,68913.6%
Undetermined intent4,8221%
Other or missing3,5680.8%

"The number of hospitalised injury cases rose from 327,000 in 1999–00 to 480,000 in 2014–15. This equated to 1 person requiring hospitalisation in every 58 Australians in 1999–00, rising to about 1 in 50 in 2014–15," said AIHW spokesperson Professor James Harrison in a statement.

The report found that while the number of people being hospitalised for accidental poisoning and assaults was down, the number of people winding up in the hospital due to falls was on the rise. The report also found that the number of people ending up in the hospital for intentional self-harm and exposure to mechanical forces also rose.

Professor Harrison said that the elderly made up a large percentage of those being hospitalised for falls.

"Overall, people aged 65 or over accounted for 30% of injury cases, with the majority of these being for falls," Professor Harrison said.

Those over 65 also spent more time in the hospital, with a mean length of stay of 6.7 days, which was almost double the average of 3.6. Of the number of total patient days Australians spent in hospital in 2014-15 (1,764,075 days), those over 65 accounted for 55.48% of that, with 978,733 days.

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