Falls resulting in patient harm in hospitals

Definition: The number of hospitalisations in which a patient was treated for a fall that occurred in hospital. This is presented as a number per 1,000 hospitalisations.

Source: National Hospital Morbidity Database; Table S1.4.31.

  • In 2015–16, there were more than 34,000 separations in which a patient was treated for injuries arising from a fall in a hospital—a rate of 3.2 per 1,000 separations. This rate may be underestimated, as place of occurrence was not specified for 18% of separations involving falls, though some falls that occurred in health care settings other than a hospital are also included due to the way the data are coded.
  • The rate of falls increased by 0.8 per 1,000 separations between 2009–10 and 2015–16. This change may reflect changing patient profiles and/or an increasing focus on the safety and quality of hospital care and good reporting of relevant data during this period.
  • A higher rate of falls was reported for public hospitals than for private hospitals in 2016–17 (4.6 compared with 1.3 falls per 1,000 separations). For all hospitals combined, people aged 85 and over had the highest age-specific rate of falls within hospital (13 falls per 1,000 separations).

For more information, see Chapter 7.9 'Safety and quality of hospital care'.