Falls prevention and management in WA

The falls prevention information is designed for healthcare professionals, working in WA, who care for patients at risk of falls.

Nature of falls

A fall is defined as “inadvertently coming to rest on the ground, floor or other lower level”.

This means as long as a person falls unintentionally onto a lower level, whether or not it is on the ground, it is considered a fall.

Falls can occur at any age, but the frequency of both falls and fall related injuries increases significantly with:

  • age
  • frailty.

Globally, approximately 28 to 35 per cent of people aged 65 and over fall each year. This increases to 32 to 42 per cent for those over 70 years of age.1

In Australia, about 1 in 3 people aged over 65 living in the community falls each year, many more than once.2

Falls are a significant issue in WA, ranking as the:

  • fourth most common cause of community injury death (11 per cent)
  • second most common cause of community injury hospitalisation (31 per cent).3

For people over 65, falls are the leading cause of injury related hospitalisations.3

Information for health professionals in WA

Through the pages listed below, you will find the latest evidence, best practice guidelines and information about:

  • the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standard 10
  • policies, procedures and falls risk assessment and management tools
  • inpatient and community falls prevention and management
  • education resources from basic information which the majority of staff should know, through to advanced falls prevention and management for staff who work with patients at risk of falls and/or are in a senior clinical role
  • current falls projects and initiatives in WA
  • the WA Falls Prevention Health Network (external site).

References

  1. World Health Organization. WHO global report on falls prevention in older age. Geneva: WHO; 2007.
  2. Bradley C. Trends in hospitalisations due to falls by older people, Australia 1999-00 to 2010-11. Injury research and statistics no. 84. Cat. no. INJCAT 160, 2013, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), Canberra.
  3. Ballestas T, Xiao J, McEvoy S, Somerford P. The epidemiology of injury in Western Australia, 2000-2008. Perth: Department of Health WA; 2011.
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