Falls-related injuries, hospitalisations and emergency department attendances are captured in the inaugural Western Australian Falls Report 2019, launched last week in Fremantle.
The report outlines at-risk populations, the variety of injury-related diagnoses and the incidences and mechanisms of falls in Western Australia to enable the sector to find the best ways to reduce falls and their health impacts.
As the leading cause of injury hospitalisations and fatalities in Western Australia, falls are a significant public health issue. In 2017, there were 26 338 recorded falls-related hospitalisations in WA, representing one hospitalisation every 20 minutes. On average, these hospitalisations each resulted in a hospital stay of six days.
Older adults are at highest risk from fall-related injury and fatality, and as Western Australia’s population ages, the prevalence of falls and their consequences are expected to grow. A traumatic fall incident can increase a person’s fear of falling, reducing their confidence, mobility, and social and physical activities. This in turn increases their likelihood of further falls and directly impacts their quality of life.
The Western Australian Falls Report 2019 was commissioned by the Department of Health and produced by Injury Matters, a Perth-based not-for-profit organisation working to prevent and reduce the impact of injury in Western Australia. A number of Department of Health teams and individuals contributed to the report, including Mr Sudhakar Rao, Director of Trauma Service at Royal Perth Hospital, and Dr Nick Waldron, Clinical Lead of the (former) Falls Prevention Health Network.
Injury Matters reminds us that Falls are preventable. They are committed to raising awareness and supporting consumers through three flagships programs, including the Stay On Your Feet® program, which educates community members and health professionals about how to prevent slips, trips and falls.
The Western Australian Falls Report 2019 (external site) is available on the Injury Matters website.