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Fall injuries, associated deaths, and 30-day readmission for subsequent falls are increasing in the elderly US population: a query of the WHO mortality database and National Readmission Database from 2010 to 2014

Authors Galet C, Zhou Y, Ten Eyck P, Romanowski KS

Received 25 July 2018

Accepted for publication 10 September 2018

Published 8 November 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 1627—1637


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Henrik Toft Sørensen

Colette Galet,1 Yunshu Zhou,2 Patrick Ten Eyck,2 Kathleen S Romanowski1

1Acute Care Surgery Division, Department of Surgery, Iowa City, IA, USA; 2Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA

Purpose: Clinicians anecdotally noted that elderly patients who suffered from traumatic injuries (falls or other injuries) often re-present and are readmitted with fall injuries. Herein, we hypothesized that fall injuries and fall-related deaths and readmissions are increasing over time, and assessed whether the overall rates of death, hospital admission, and 30-day readmission due to falls increased from 2010 to 2014 in the elderly population (≥65) in the US.
Patients and methods: The WHO mortality database and the National Readmission Database (NRD) were queried to assess rates of deaths and hospital admissions and 30-day readmissions associated with fall injuries in the elderly population that presented with trauma. Descriptive statistics were obtained. The generalized linear mixed modeling (GLMM) framework was utilized to examine the relationship between fixed-effect predictor variables and the dichotomous outcome, indicating readmission within 30 days of previous discharge while accounting for hospital clustering with a random intercept.
Results: Fall-related death increased by 1.4% from 2010 to 2014. Similarly, the hospital admission rate increased by 2% and was mainly associated with increased admission of elderly 65–74 years old. Approximately 55% of the fall patients were placed in nursing facilities in 2010, and this rate increased by 3% from 2010 to 2014. Thirty-day readmission rates for fall and trauma patients remained stable from 2010 to 2014. However, the rate of fall patients readmitted within 30 days for a subsequent fall increased from 15.6% to 17.4% between 2010 and 2014.
Conclusion: Our data indicate a steady increase in deaths and admissions for fall injuries in the elderly population. Strikingly, the incidence of readmission for a subsequent fall is increasing. With the aging population, this trend is likely to continue and highlights the need for elderly social support systems and fall prevention programs.

Keywords: elderly, falls, National Readmission Database, WHO mortality database

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