Older fallers attended to by an ambulance but not transported to hospital: a vulnerable population at high risk of future falls
Article first published online: 2 APR 2013
© 2013 The Authors. ANZJPH © 2013 Public Health Association of Australia
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Volume 37, Issue 2, pages 179–185, April 2013
How to Cite
Tiedemann, A., Mikolaizak, A. S., Sherrington, C., Segin, K., Lord, S. R. and Close, J. C.T. (2013), Older fallers attended to by an ambulance but not transported to hospital: a vulnerable population at high risk of future falls. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 37: 179–185. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12037
- Issue published online: 2 APR 2013
- Article first published online: 2 APR 2013
- Submitted: July 2012 Revision requested: November 2012 Accepted: February 2013
- accidental falls;
Objective : This prospective cohort study describes older non-transported fallers seen by the Ambulance Service of New South Wales (ASNSW), quantifies the level of risk and identifies predictors of future falls and ambulance use.
Methods : Participants were 262 people aged 70 years or older with a fall-related ASNSW attendance who were not transported to an emergency department. They completed a questionnaire about health, medical and physical factors previously associated with falling. Falls were monitored for six months after ambulance attendance with monthly fall calendars.
Results : Participants had a high prevalence of chronic medical conditions, functional limitations and past falls. During follow-up, 145 participants (58%) experienced 488 falls. Significant predictors of falls during follow-up were three or more falls in the past year, being unable to walk more than 10 minutes without resting, and requiring assistance for personal-care activities of daily living (ADLs). Sixty-two participants (25%) required repeat, fall-related ambulance attendance during the study. Predictors of repeat ambulance use were: 3+ falls in past year, requiring assistance for personal-care ADLs and having disabling pain in past month.
Conclusions : Older, non-transported fallers seen by the ASNSW are a vulnerable population with high rates of chronic health conditions.
Implications : Onward referral for preventive interventions may reduce future falls and ambulance service calls.