9 September 2020

Report reveals gravity of falls

The 2020 Western Australian Falls Report released on 1 September highlights the devastating loss of independence many Western Australians face after being hospitalised for a fall.

The report shows that 16.5 per cent of Western Australia’s 27,372 hospitalisations in 2018 were discharged to an acute hospital while another 7 per cent were discharged to an aged-care home – 87 per cent of them for the first time.

The report is the second of its kind documenting the incidence of falls-related fatalities, hospitalisations, emergency department attendances and ambulance attendances in Western Australia, following the inaugural report in 2019.

Older Western Australians, particularly the over 85s, were the age group most impacted by falls-related injuries, which was why preventative health initiatives such as the State Government-funded Stay On Your Feet® (external site) program were so important.

Stay On Your Feet® is delivered by injury-prevention organisation Injury Matters and encourages older adults to minimise their risk of a fall by staying active, improving their health and being alert to trip hazards.

Other findings of the latest falls report include that in 2018:

  • falls were the leading cause of injury hospitalisations, accounting for 28 per cent of hospitalisations
  • there were 42,384 falls-related presentations to WA emergency departments
  • falls were the leading cause of emergency department attendances, representing 16 per cent of attendances
  • the Kimberley region had the highest rate of falls-related hospitalisations
  • falls-related incidents occupied 172,099 hospital bed days at an estimated cost of $244,845,273 to WA’s public and private health sectors.

The 2020 Western Australian Falls Report was produced by Injury Matters in partnership with the Department of Health.