179001 2. Falls among Older Californians: Establishing a Need for Fall Prevention

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 3:00 PM

Roger Trent, PhD , Chief, Injury Surveillance and Epidemiology Section, California Department of Public Health, Sacramento, CA
Steven P. Wallace, PhD , UCLA School of Public Health, University of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
This presentation will describe how to track falls among older Californians and profile falls among older Californians by presenting fall trends, outcomes, and differentials, using the California Patient Discharge (CPD) data and California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) data. Falls among older Californians can be tracked at multiple points in the health care system (e.g., acute health and long-term care settings), as well as in community settings. Even so, our study found that existing, unlinked data sources on falls often lack reliable, standardized reporting and collection criteria, as well as key information (e.g., circumstances of falls). Using the 2000-2004 CPD data, results show that the total number of hospitalized falls among Californians age 60 years and older increased from 68,753 to 74,633 during this period, with the rates of hospitalized fall injuries per 100,000 in the population hovering around 1,600. Moreover, the mean cost for a hospital stay due to a fall was about $40,480 in 2004. In addition, the 2003 CHIS data show that older Californians with chronic health conditions (e.g., diabetes, heart disease), advancing age, and incomes below the federal poverty level are more likely to fall. Our study confirms that falls among older adults are a significant and growing problem. Developing a better system for reporting and collecting accurate and comprehensive data on falls will aid in 1) tracking and monitoring falls among older adults; 2) targeting at-risk segments of the population to implement effective fall prevention; and 3) raising public awareness about the importance of fall prevention.

Learning Objectives:
Understand the variety of data sources that track falls, how they can be used, and what improvements are needed to target the at-risk segment of the older population.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Working at the School of Public Health, I have a strong background in the topic of this presentation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.