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Clin Nurs Res. 2012 Feb;21(1):10-23. doi: 10.1177/1054773811414180. Epub 2011 Jul 25.

Incidence and cost of serious fall-related injuries in nursing homes.

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VA Hospital, Tampa, FL, USA.



Fall-related injuries (FRIs) result in morbidity and mortality for patients, as well as unnecessary expense to health care institutions.


(a) Estimate the incidence of falls and FRIs with a nursing home as the source of admission in Veterans Administration (VA) and non-VA facilities. (b) Estimate the cost of hospitalizations for each level of FRI severity.


Retrospective analysis of falls and FRI resulting in a hospitalization whose source of admission was a VA nursing home.


Falls and FRIs were obtained from Minimum Data Set (MDS) reports (January 2007-June 2009). Costs were obtained from the VA Decision Support System reports and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) reports (2000-2006).


Incidence of falls, fracture incidence, number of hospitalizations for FRIs, and costs associated with hospitalization for by level of FRI severity.


Fall incidence was 10.6% in VA and 13.1% in CMS facilities. Fracture incidence was 0.9% in VHA and 1.65% in CMS facilities. Over a 3-year period, there were 2,400 admissions to VHA hospitals for FRI, with 55.4% hip fractures and10.1% intracranial injuries, with an average cost of US$23,723 per admission. Over a 9-year period, there were 141,308 admissions from nursing homes to non-VA hospitals for FRIs, with 38.8% hip fractures, 35.7% other fractures, and 11.1% intracranial injuries, with an average cost of US$31,507 per admission.


Prevention program emphasis should shift away from a focus on preventing falls as a measure of quality care to decreasing FRIs. These findings support implementation of injury prevention programs for the elderly that reduces risk for injury as the primary outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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