What is a fall?
World Health Organisation defines a fall as “an event which results in a person coming to rest inadvertently on the ground or floor or other lower level.”
If you are unsure about what this means, the definition of a fall is clearly demonstrated in the below video What is a fall?: Training video for falls incident reporting.
Who is most at risk of falling?
A person’s risk of falling increases as they age. 1 in 4 people over 60 will fall each year. By the age of 65 this number rises to 1 in 3.
In 2010-2011, 92,150 Australians over the age of 65 were hospitalised because they had a fall. The most common type of injuries were fractures of the hip and leg.
Chronic disease and other health conditions can increase a person’s risk of falling. Approximately half of people aged 65-74 years living in Australian households experience five or more long-term health conditions. This increases to 70% in people aged over 85 years. These include heart disease, diabetes, dementia, low blood pressure and arthritis.
Consequences of a fall
The average time an older adult requires in hospital, upon admission after a fall, is seven days. This is longer than if they had been admitted for any other type of injury.
With increasing age, the risk of falling and the adverse effects experienced due to falling take on greater significance. The concern is not only the high incidence of falls in this group, but rather the combination of high incidence and high susceptibility to injury. There is a greater likelihood of more severe falls-related injuries because of the high prevalence of clinical diseases and age-related physiological changes amongst older adults.