Seniors’ Falls Prevention

Falls are the leading cause of injury‐related deaths and hospitalizations for BC seniors and due to an aging population, falls-related hospitalizations have been steadily increasing since 2000 for those aged 65 and over. When an older person falls, it can come at a devastating cost resulting in loss of mobility, a reduced quality of life and, in severe cases, death. The cost to the BC health system is also very high at more than $195 million in direct health care costs in 2009/2010.

Quick Facts & Stats ▼ | Prevention ▼ | Information & Resources ▼ | Featured Research ▼
border

Quick Facts & Stats

Causes

  • Approximately 40% of fall-related hospital cases were due to hip fractures.

Occurrence

  • Each year more than 200,000 BC seniors will experience one or more falls,
resulting in more than 10,000 hospitalizations and more than 800 direct and indirect deaths.1
  • Falls are the most common cause of injury among BC seniors. Each year, one in three BC seniors (age 65+) experience at least one fall.2
  • Falls were the primary or secondary contributing cause for 12,006 hospital cases among seniors in 2009/2010.
  • The rate of fall related hip fractures is three times higher for seniors who live in institutional/residential facilities, compared with seniors in non-institutional/non-residential settings.3

Costs

  • In 2010, injuries from falls cost British Columbians over $195 million in direct health care costs.4
  • The number of bed days for fall-related hospitalizations is expected to increase from 162,562 in 2009/10 to 208,853 in 2018/2019.5 This would mean that an extra 127 beds per day would be needed in the province by 2018/2019.
  • When an older person falls, it can have an enduring and devastating impact, resulting in injury, loss of mobility, a reduced quality of life and, in severe cases, death.
  • Fifty percent of post hip fracture patients will not regain pre-injury ambulation status and require permanent use of a cane, walker or other mobility aid for walking.
  • Seniors with fall-related injuries tend to stay in hospital almost twice as long as seniors hospitalized for all other reasons.
  • The cost to the BC health system was more than $195 million in direct health care costs in 2009/2010).6
  • Of all average annual fall-related hospitalization costs among BC seniors between the years of 2005/06 and 2009/10, fall-related hip fractures accounted for 47%. The remaining 53% of fall-related hospitalization costs comprised of upper limb injuries (10%), head injuries (10%), abdomen, lower back, lumbar spine and pelvis injuries (12%), and all other fall-related injuries (21%).7

Prevention

Many falls in older adults can be prevented and there are proven interventions and programs that can reduce the physical and financial costs associated with seniors’ falls – see resources below.

 

Seniors’ Fall Prevention Awareness Week

Since 2007, each year in November, the BC Falls & Injury Prevention Coalition raises awareness of the risk of falls and fall prevention through Seniors’ Fall Prevention Awareness Week. For more information, please see the website.

Information & Resources

Resources for Caregivers & Healthcare Professionals

For more on Seniors’ Falls research & publications, go to our library »

  1. BC Ministry of Health. (2006). The evolution of seniors’ falls prevention in British Columbia. BC Ministry of Health: Victoria, BC.
  2. Extrapolated from Scott, V., Peck, S., & Kendall, P. (2004). Prevention of Falls and Injuries Among the Elderly. Ministry of Health Planning, British Columbia and Quantum Analyzer PEOPLE 34 Population Data.
  3. See footnote 2
  4. Extrapolated from Canadian Institute of Health Information Discharge Abstract Dataset and People 34, B.C. Stats, Service B.C., Ministry of Labour and Citizens’ Services, 2011 and Scott, V., Peck, S., & Kendall, P. (2004). Prevention of Falls and Injuries Among the Elderly.  Ministry of Health Planning, British Columbia.
  5. Scott, et al., 2010. A public health approach to fall prevention among older persons in Canada. Clinics in Geriatric Medicine, 26(4): 705-718
  6. Canadian Institute of Health Information Discharge Abstract Dataset
  7. Canadian Institute of Health Information Discharge Abstract Dataset