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Journal Article


Peel NM, Kassulke DJ, McClure RJ. Inj. Prev. 2002; 8(4): 280-283.


School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Herston, Queensland, Australia.


(Copyright © 2002, BMJ Publishing Group)








OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to identify the distribution of fall related injury in older people hospitalised for acute treatment of injury, in order to direct priorities for prevention. SETTING: A follow up study was conducted in the Brisbane Metropolitan Region of Australia during 1998. METHODS: Medical records of patients aged 65 years and over hospitalised with a fall related injury were reviewed. Demographic and injury data were analysed and injury rates calculated using census data as the denominator for the population at risk. RESULTS: From age 65, hospitalised fall related injury rates increased exponentially for both males and females, with age adjusted incidence rates twice as high in women than men. Fractures accounted for 89% of admissions, with over half being to the hip. Males were significantly more likely than females to have fractured their skull, face, or ribs (p < 0.01). While females were significantly more likely than males to have fractured their upper or lower limbs (p < 0.01), the difference between proportions of males and females fracturing their hip was not significant. Males were more likely than females (p < 0.01) to have fall related head injuries (13% of admissions). Compared with hip fractures, head injuries contributed significantly to the burden of injury in terms of severity, need for intensive care, and excess mortality. CONCLUSIONS: The frequency and impact of hip fractures warrants continued emphasis in falls program interventions for both males and females to prevent this injury. However, interventions that go beyond measures to slow and protect against bone loss are also needed to prevent fall related head injuries.


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