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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 2021 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 in 2019, contributing to 22.5% of all injury hospitalisations.
  • A Western Australian died every 26 hours in 2018 (n=335), was hospitalised every 17 minutes in 2019 (n=29,350) and attended the emergency department every 12 minutes in 2019 due to a falls-related injury (n=42,457).
  • On average 7.1 days was spent in hospital per falls-related admission in 2019.
  • Males experienced a higher rate of falls-related fatality in 2018 (11 per 100,000 population).
  • Females experienced a higher rate of falls-related hospitalisations (1,024.3 per 100,000 population) and emergency department attendances (1,597.3 per 100,000 population) than males in 2019.
  • In 2019, falls were the cause of over 1 in 6 hospitalisations and 1 in 10 ED attendances to individuals aged 85 years and over.
  • Residents in regional WA continue to experience a high burden of falls, with the highest rate of falls-related incidents recorded in the Kimberley and Goldfields regions.
  • Over half of all falls-related hospitalisations occurred in the home or an aged care facility in 2019 (n=15,358).

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 2019, the 29,350 falls-related hospitalisations resulted in 209,770 hospital bed days at an estimated cost of $252,333,249.2

Additional resources:

Injury Matters 2021 Western Australian Falls Report 

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, and Meade, R.  Western Australian Falls Report 2021. (2021). Injury Matters.

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
Injury Matters acknowledge the Whadjuk Noongar people as the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work, and recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continuing connection to land, waters and community across Western Australia.