More older Australians hospitalised after a fall, particularly women

The number of older Australians hospitalised after a fall continues to rise, with older women accounting for more fall cases than men, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Hospitalisations due to falls by older people, Australia 2009-10, shows that there were 83,800 hospitalised injury cases due to falls in people aged 65 and over in that year.

'This was around 5,100 cases more than the previous year,' said AIHW spokesperson Professor James Harrison.

Women accounted for most of the hospitalised fall injury cases, making up 69% of cases. The rate of fall cases was higher for women than for men across all age groups.

About one-third of fall injury cases resulted in injuries to the hip and thigh, and the majority of these were hip fractures.

Head injuries accounted for one in five hospitalised cases and were more common for men than for women.

Similar to previous years, a fall on the same level due to slipping, tripping or stumbling (rather than, for example, a fall from furniture or steps) was the most common cause of hospitalised injury.

About 70% of hospitalised falls in 2009-10 occurred in a home or an aged care facility. The estimated incidence rate of hospitalised fall injury among residents of aged care facilities was nearly 6 times as high as the rate estimated for community-dwelling older people.

'One in every 10 days spent in hospital by a person aged 65 and older in 2009-10 was directly attributable to a fall-related injury,' Professor Harrison said.

The average length of stay in hospital following a fall was about 15.5 days in 2009-10, a slight decrease from the previous year's average of 16 days.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.


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