BACKGROUND:: Fall incidents are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in older adults. The aim of this cohort study was to determine the incidence, costs, and quality of life for fall-related injuries in the older Dutch population presenting at the emergency department. METHODS:: Data on fall-related injuries in persons aged 65 years or older were retrieved from the Dutch Injury Surveillance System, which records injuries treated at the emergency department, and a patient follow-up survey conducted between 2003 and 2007. Injury incidence, discharge rates, healthcare costs, and quality of life measures were calculated. RESULTS:: Fall-related injuries were to the upper or lower limb in 70% of cases and consisted mainly of fractures (60%), superficial injuries (21%), and open wounds (8%). Falls led to a total healthcare cost of €474.4 million, which represents 21% of total healthcare expenses due to injuries. Both admitted and nonadmitted patients reported a reduced quality of life up to 9 months after the injury. CONCLUSIONS:: Fall-related injuries in older adults are age and gender related, leading to high healthcare consumption, costs, and long-term reduced quality of life. Further implementation of falls prevention strategies is needed to control the burden of fall-related injuries in the aging population.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Fall, Healthcare costs, Injury, Older adults, Quality of life
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1097/TA.0b013e3181f6f5e5, hdl.handle.net/1765/30927
Series Surgery and Traumatology
Journal Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection, and Critical Care
Citation
Hartholt, K.A, van Beeck, E.F, Polinder, S, van der Velde, N, van Lieshout, E.M.M, Panneman, M.J.M, … Patka, P. (2011). Societal consequences of falls in the older population: Injuries, healthcare costs, and long-term reduced quality of life. Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, 71(3), 748–753. doi:10.1097/TA.0b013e3181f6f5e5