Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries and hospitalization for Oregon adults aged 65 years and over. In 2013, 639 deaths and 8,664 hospitalizations were due to falls in Oregon. About 90% of the deaths and 68% of the hospitalizations were for Oregonians 65 years or over, and hospitalizations for falls increased with age. The rate of fatal falls among persons 85 years and older is 21 times than for those age 65–74 years old.
Fall-related mortality (those who died as a result of a fall) increased 46% in adults over 65 years old. Hospitalizations due to a fall also increase with age; those age 85 years and older were seven times more likely to be hospitalized for a fall than those age 65-74 years.
Falls result in significant physical, personal, social and economic burdens. Oregon hospital costs related to senior falls exceeded $219 million in 2013, with a median, or midpoint per patient cost of $33,000. Falls frequently cause traumatic brain injury, hip fractures and can lead to long-term disability.
Although falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults, research shows many older adults who fall do not report the fall to their health care provider . This lack of reporting is a problem because a history of falls is a risk factor and a missed opportunity for providers to intervene and recommend preventive options.