Highlights from the Australian Government's health and welfare report. 

Fall prevention in the elderly is proving to be an increasingly important feature of aged care in Australia and abroad. On September 23, 2014, the United States hosted the National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, to showcase the importance of reducing the elderly from falling accidents. At Right at Home, we feel that it's important to keep our community members aware of the risk of falls for our clients.

In an Australian Government Institute of Health and Welfare report on hospitalised injuries in older Australians spanning 2011 to 2012, a comprehensive analysis of Australia's ageing population is explored. The report's summary "describes the causes of hospitalised injury for Australians aged 65 and over [in order to guide and improve] policy aimed at reducing the number of injuries experienced by older people and for targeting investment in injury prevention strategies". This report uses data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) National Hospital Morbidity Database (NHMD) for hospital separations due to injury and poisoning that occurred in Australia from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012.

Key findings about injury in older Australians showed:

    • There were approximately 126,000 injury cases among older Australians requiring an admission to hospital in 2011-12.
    • The rate for women (4,252 cases per 100,000 population) was nearly one-third higher than the rate for men (3,235 cases per 100,000 population).
    • The rate of injury increased in line with increasing age.
    • Length of stay in hospital averaged 7.6 days for Australian women aged 65 and over compared with 6.8 days for men.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) show that the rate of hospitalised falls increases parallel to aging. Their findings follow. "The rate of injury hospitalisations for older Australians has increased since 1999-00 from approximately 2,000 to 3,000 cases per 100,000 population for men and from approximately 3,500 to 4,500 cases per 100,000 population for women, and in 2010-11 people over the age of 65 accounted for 27% of all injury hospitalisations."

The report continues. "In Australia during 2011-12, there were 139,069 separations from hospital by people aged 65 and over who had been in hospital because of injury, including poisoning. Excluding inward transfers, these amount to an estimated 125,926 injury cases. Nearly twice as many women (80,703) were hospitalised as a result of injury as men (45,222). The age-standardised rate for women was nearly one-third higher than men: 4,252 cases per 100,000 women compared with 3,235 cases per 100,000 men."

"In 2011-12, the estimated number of falls requiring a hospital stay in people aged 65 and over was 96,385, an increase of some 4,000 cases for the previously reported year 2010-11 (Bradley, 2013). More than twice as many women were hospitalised as men. The highest proportion of cases for both men and women was ages 85 and over," 37% for men and 46% for women.

The nature of injuries was distributed thus: "Fractures (57%) were the most common type of injury associated with a fall, followed by open wounds (12%). Men sustained an injury to the head or trunk more often than women, while women more likely to sustain an injury to the hip, leg, shoulder or arm."

The Queensland Government recommendations for reducing the risk of falling of the aging population focus on active and independent living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

For further pertinent information please visit the Queensland Government's website.

Founded in 1995, Right at Home offers in-home companionship and personal care, and assistance to seniors and disabled adults who want to continue to live independently and age in their home. Right at Home Australia is your local expert for issues related to caring for your loved ones, and is dedicated to keeping you informed about home care. With no admin or subscription fees Right at Home allows you to get more care from your package or budget. ​

To find out more, please give us a call on 1300 362 609 or visit our website. 

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