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Falls facts

What is a fall?

fall is defined as an event, which results in a person coming to rest inadvertently on the ground or floor or other lower level.1

A fall can be a trip, slip or stumble. Not all falls end up with the person on the ground, they may fall back onto their bed, a chair or even correct themselves just in time.

What is the incidence of falls in WA?

Providing an annual measure of the incidence of falls in WA, Injury Matters produces an annual WA Falls Report. The 2020 WA Falls Report highlights a number of statistics regarding the incidence of falls in WA including that;

  • Falls were the leading cause of injury hospitalisations and emergency department attendances in 2018.
  • In WA someone died due to a fall every 26 hours in 2017 (n=329), was admitted to hospital due to a fall every 19 minutes in 2018 (n=27,327), presented to an emergency department every 12 minutes due to a fall in 2018 (n=42,384), and required an ambulance call out every 18 minutes due to a fall in 2018 (n=28,044).
  • On average 6.3 days was spent in hospital per falls-related admission in 2018.
  • Males experienced a higher rate of falls-related fatality in 2017 (13 per 100,000 population).
  • Females experienced a higher rate of falls-related hospitalisations (985 per 100,000 population) and emergency department attendances (1,638 per 100,000 population) than males in 2018.
  • In 2017 individuals aged 85 years and over experienced the highest rate of falls-related fatalities and in 2018 they experienced the highest rate of hospitalisations and ED attendances.
  • Residents in the Goldfields and the South West regions experienced the highest rate of falls-related fatalities in 2017.
  • Residents in the Kimberley and Midwest regions experienced the highest rate of falls-related hospitalisations in 2018.
  • Over 51% of falls-related hospitalisations in 2018 were reported to be the result of a fall that occurred within the home or an aged care facility (n=14,105).

Download the report today for more information regarding the incidence of falls-related injuries in WA, falls prevention priority populations, injury diagnosis following a falls-related hospitalisation and the mechanism behind falls-related hospitalisations.

What is the impact on the health system?

In WA in 2017, the 27,327 falls-related hospitalisations resulted in 172,099 annual bed days at an estimated cost of $244,845,273.

Additional resources:

Injury Matters 2020 Western Australian Falls Report 

Injury Matters 2019 Western Australian Falls Report

Know Injury, WA Falls Fact Sheet

AIHW, Trends in hospitalisations due to falls by older people, Australia 2002-03 to 2012-13

WA Department of Health, Incidence and costs of injury in WA 2012

References:

  1. World Health Organization, editor. WHO global report on falls prevention in older age. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2008. 47 p.
  2. Sweeney, R., Meade, R. & Wold, C. Western Australian Falls Report 2019. 28 (Injury Matters, 2019).

Stay On Your Feet® is provided by Injury Matters and funded by the Western Australian Department of Health.

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Government of Western Australia Department of Health Injury Matters