RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Trends in fall-related hospital admissions in older persons in the Netherlands.

BACKGROUND: Fall-related injuries, hospitalizations, and mortality among older persons represent a major public health problem. Owing to aging societies worldwide, a major impact on fall-related health care demand can be expected. We determined time trends in numbers and incidence of fall-related hospital admissions and in admission duration in older adults.

METHODS: Secular trend analysis of fall-related hospital admissions in the older Dutch population from 1981 through 2008, using the National Hospital Discharge Registry. All fall-related hospital admissions in persons 65 years or older were extracted from this database. Outcome measures were the numbers, and the age-specific and age-adjusted incidence rates (per 10,000 persons) of fall-related hospital admissions in each year of the study.

RESULTS: From 1981 through 2008, fall-related hospital admissions increased by 137%. The annual age-adjusted incidence growth was 1.3% for men vs 0.7% for women (P < .001). The overall incidence rate increased from 87.7 to 141.2 per 10,000 persons (an increase of 61%). Age-specific incidence increased in all age groups, in both men and women, especially in the oldest old (>75 years). Although the incidence of fall-related hospital admissions increased, the total number of fall-related hospital days was reduced by 20% owing to a reduction in admission duration.

CONCLUSIONS: In the Netherlands, numbers of fall-related hospital admissions among older persons increased drastically from 1981 through 2008. The increasing fall-related health care demand has been compensated for by a reduced admission duration. These figures demonstrate the need for implementation of falls prevention programs to control for increases of fall-related health care consumption.

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