Self-reported consequences and healthcare costs of falls among elderly women.
Although the falls in elderly people lead to serious health consequences, the economic burden is underestimated. The aim of this study was to calculate the medical costs of fall consequences in elderly women.
Women aged 65 years and older were interviewed by phone recording the consequences and healthcare procedures related to every fall sustained during the previous 12 months. The healthcare costs were estimated by calculating the sum of costs for all self-reported contacts with medical care providers: ambulance, emergency department, visits to family doctor and other specialists, hospitalisations, and rehabilitation.
The study population consisted of 878 community-dwelling women (mean age 72.2±4.8 years). Falls were reported by 310 (35.3%) women; one in three of them had fallen twice or more. Of all women who fell, 280 (90.3%) reported their fall resulted in an injury, and 77 (15.3%) falls led to bone fractures. Fear of falling was reported by 72.9% of women. Fall-related medical care was provided to 135 women (43.5% of those fallen), and 18 (5.8%) subjects were hospitalised, mostly for the fracture. The mean estimated healthcare cost was 254 EUR per patient receiving fall-related medical care, and 116 EUR per women fallen. The highest mean cost (1289 EUR) was estimated in falls resulted in hip fracture; the lowest (135 EUR), in nonfracture injury.
The data on the self-reported consequences of falls in elderly women showed a significant number of fall-related injuries and a high cost of healthcare.
Received 15 January 2014, accepted 16 January 2015, available online 29 January 2015.