Falls have a significant impact on individuals, families, society, and health care systems. Find out about what’s being done provincially and locally to prevent falls among the older adult population.
- 1 in 3 seniors fall every year
- Half of seniors who fall do so repeatedly
- 1 in 4 falls result in injuries including sprains, fractures, and death
- Falls are the leading contributor to overall injury costs in Canada and account for $6.2 billion or 31 per cent of total costs of all injuries (Smartrisk, 2009)
- Falls cause more than 90 per cent of all hip fractures in the elderly and 20 per cent of seniors who suffer a hip fracture die within a year
- A single hip fracture adds between $24,600 to $28,000 in direct health costs to the system. Almost half of people who sustain a hip fracture never recover fully
- The mean length of stay for a falls-related injury is approximately 15 days (Scott, Wagar & Elliott, 2010)
- In the Champlain region this is can be translated as:
- 2,765 admissions of seniors from Emergency Department for falls in 2013
- The equivalent of 41,475 bed days at a cost of $17.2 million
- Average length of stay for a falls-related admission = 15 days
- Cost per bed / day = $415 (50th percentile)
- Falls are directly accountable for 40 per cent of all elderly admissions to nursing homes or long-term care facilities
What is being done to prevent falls?
Many jurisdictions internationally have developed approaches to reduce the number of falls and research tells us that a reduction of between 6% and 33% of fall-related injuries can be achieved through coordinated, community-wide, multi-strategy fall prevention initiatives (McClure et al., 2005).
In Ontario a task force was convened and developed the Provincial Integrated Falls Prevention Framework and Tool kit which was introduced in 2011.
In 2012 the Champlain LHIN began to invest in the development of a regional Falls Prevention Strategy. This initiative is a partnership between the LHIN, the region’s four Public Health Units, the Regional Geriatric Program of Eastern Ontario (RGPEO), and primary and community health care providers. Primary Care and Public Health leaders co-chair the Champlain Falls Prevention Steering Committee, which draws membership from across all health care sectors.
The objective of the strategy is: To effectively reduce falls and the impact of falls on Champlain older adults through a coordinated, evidence-informed approach to falls prevention that builds on community-wide, inter-sectoral collaboration.
The feedback from an early 2013 survey of primary and community care providers made it clear that a standardized approach was wanted and required to support teams in these sectors to provide screening, assessment, and intervention in order to prevent falls in their senior populations. Coordination, use of standardized tools and communication, and access to up-to-date resources that are relevant and useful were all issues that were raised in the survey.
Next month’s article: Responding to the issues: What have we done so far?