Diversity in fall characteristics hampers effective prevention: the precipitants, the environment, the fall and the injury

AbstractSummaryFalls among the elderly are common and characteristics may differ between injurious and non-injurious falls. Among 887 older Australian women followed for 1.6  years, 32% fell annually. Only 8.5% resulted in fracture and/or hospital admission. The characteristics of those falls are indistinguishable from those not coming to medical attention.IntroductionThe precipitants and environment of all falls occurring among a large cohort of older Caucasian women were categorised by injury status to determine if the characteristics differed between injurious and non-injurious falls.MethodsAmong 887 Australian women (70+ years), falls were ascertained using monthly postcard calendars and a questionnaire was administered for each fall. Hospital admissions and fractures were independently confirmed.ResultsAll falls were reported for a mean observation time of 577 (IQR 546 –607) days per participant, equating to a total 1400 person-years. Thirty-two percent fell at least once per year. The most common features of a fall were that the faller was walking (61%) at home (61%) during the day (88%) and lost balance (32%). Only 12% of all falls occurred at night. Despite n o difference in the type of injury between day and night, the likelihood of being hospitalised from a fall at night was 4.5 times greater than that of a daytime fall with adjustment for injury type and participant age (OR 4.5, 95% CI 2.1, 9.5;p 
Source: Osteoporosis International - Category: Orthopaedics Source Type: research

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