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Scott Med J. 2013 Nov;58(4):198-203. doi: 10.1177/0036933013507848.

The high cost to health and social care of managing falls in older adults living in the community in Scotland.

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1
Project Director, York Health Economics Consortium, University of York, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIMS:

Estimate costs for health and social care services in managing older people in the community who fall.

METHOD AND RESULTS:

Analyses of predominantly national databases using cost of illness methodologies. In Scotland, 294,000 (34%) of people over 65 years and living in the community fall at least once a year. Of these 20%, almost 60,000 people contacted a medical service for assistance. There were almost 30,000 attendances at GP practices, over 36,100 calls to the Scottish Ambulance Service and 46,816 people presenting at A&E, with 16,549 admitted, 30% with a hip fracture. Mortality was high, 7% during the hospital stay, rising to over 12% at 1 year. Over 20% of patients were unable to return to their homes. Associated costs were over £470 million, with 60% incurred by social services, mainly providing long-term care. Cost per person falling was over £1720, rising to over £8600 for those seeking medical assistance. A hip fracture admission cost £39,490, compared with £21,960 for other falls-related admissions.

CONCLUSIONS:

Transparent, robust cost information demonstrates the substantial burden of falls for health and social care services and should be a driver for implementing evidence-based interventions to reduce falls.

KEYWORDS:

Costs; community; falls; older people

PMID:
24215036
DOI:
10.1177/0036933013507848
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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