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J Safety Res. 2018 Feb;64:83-92. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2017.12.010. Epub 2017 Dec 28.

Characterization of fall patients: Does age matter?

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Department of Surgery, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, Jamaica, NY, United States. Electronic address:
Department of Surgery, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, Jamaica, NY, United States. Electronic address:
Department of Medicine, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV, United States.
Program in Occupational Therapy, NYU Steinhardt School of Education, New York, NY, United States. Electronic address:



Evaluating age-specific fall characteristics is important for prevention programs. The aim was to characterize fallers who presented to our trauma center. We hypothesized that fall characteristics and outcomes would vary with age.


Data were retrospectively collected from the trauma registry and electronic medical records during January 1st, 2014-December 31st, 2015. Data were analyzed by Chi-square test with Yates' continuity correction and one-way ANOVA with Bonferroni's multiple comparisons test.


There were 1541 fallers, 814 (52.8%) were male. Ages ranged from 11 months to 100years. The admission rate was high at 86%, with an average hospital stay of 5.7days. Patients in the 0-18 and 19-45age groups spent significantly less time in the hospital (p<0.0001). Elderly patients had the highest average injury severity score (p<0.0001). However, the youngest patients required surgery more often (p=0.0004). The overall mortality rate was 3.6% and 52.8% were male. The mortality rate increased with age, from 0% for the 0-18 age group to 6.9% for patients ≥65years of age. Remarkably, fallers in the 19-45 and 46-64age groups predominantly died from ground level falls even though the average fall height in these groups was the highest (p<0.0001). More fallers in the 19-45 and 46-64age groups tested positive for alcohol/drug use (p<0.0001). Middle-aged and elderly patients were more likely to be discharged to a skilled nursing or rehabilitation facility compared to younger patients who were discharged home.


Fall characteristics and outcomes varied with age. Data on age-specific characteristics, outcomes, and risk factors of falls will help in developing targeted interventions and may lead to better approaches to treat patients.


Fall height; Fall outcomes; Falls; Indoor falls; Outdoor falls

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