Epidemiology of ambulance responses to older people who have fallen in New South Wales, Australia
Article first published online: 11 SEP 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Australasian Journal on Ageing © 2012 ACOTA
Australasian Journal on Ageing
How to Cite
Simpson, P. M., Bendall, J. C., Patterson, J., Tiedemann, A., Middleton, P. M. and Close, J. C. (2012), Epidemiology of ambulance responses to older people who have fallen in New South Wales, Australia. Australasian Journal on Ageing. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-6612.2012.00621.x
- Article first published online: 11 SEP 2012
- Centre for Health Advancement
- New South Wales Department of Health
- accidental fall;
To quantify the size and scope of the operational burden arising from older people who have fallen for a large ambulance service and to describe this population.
Retrospective analysis of ambulance records from New South Wales, Australia for emergency calls classified as ‘falls’ in the period 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009.
There were 42 331 responses to people aged 65 years or older, constituting 5.1% of total emergency workload. The median age of patients was 83 (interquartile range 76–87) and 62% were women. The transport rate was 76%. Transport to hospital was more likely during the day (odds ratio (OR) 1.8, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.7–1.9) and on weekends (OR 1.06, 95%CI 1.0–1.1).
Falls by older people constitute approximately 5% of all emergency responses, of which one quarter are not transported to emergency department (ED) after paramedic assessment. Increasing the sophistication of ambulance dispatch processes to older people who have fallen, and continuing with the development of new models of care aimed at decreasing unnecessary transports to the EDs, should be a priority when planning ambulance service delivery for older people who have fallen.