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Emergency Medical Service attendances for adults with repeat falls in Western Australia: A state-wide retrospective cohort study.

Objectives: The risk of falls increases with age and often requires an emergency medical service (EMS) response. We compared the characteristics of patients attended by EMS in response to repeat falls within 30 days and 12 months of their first EMS-attended fall; and explored the number of days between the index fall and the subsequent fall(s). Methods: This retrospective cohort study included all adults (> =18 years of age) who experienced their first EMS-attended fall between 1st January 2016 and 31st December 2020, followed up until 31 December 2021. Patients who experienced > =1 subsequent fall, following their first recorded fall, were defined as experiencing repeat falls. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify the factors associated with repeat falls; and Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to estimate the time (in days) between consecutive EMS-attended falls. Results: A total of 128,588 EMS-attended fall-related incidents occurred involving 77,087 individual patients. Most patients, 54,554 (71%) were attended only once for a fall-related incident (30,280 females; median age 73 years, inter-quartile range (IQR): 55-84). A total of 22,533 (29%) patients experienced repeat EMS-attended falls (13,248 females; median age 83 years, IQR: 74-89, at first call). These 22,533 patients accounted for 58% (74,034 attendances) of all EMS-attendances to fall-related incidents. Time between EMS-attended falls decreased significantly the more falls a patient sustained. Among the 22,533 patients who experienced repeat falls, 13,363 (59%) of repeat falls occurred within 12 months: 3,103 (14%) of patients sustained their second fall within 30 days of their index fall, and 10,260 (46%) between 31 days to 12 months. Patients who were transported to the hospital, via any urgency, at their first EMS-attended fall, had a reduced odds of sustaining a second EMS-attended fall within both 30 days and 31 days to 12 months, compared to non-transported patients. Conclusion: Nearly 30% of all patients attended by EMS for a fall, sustained repeat falls, which collectively accounted for nearly 60% of all EMS-attendances to fall-related incidents. Further exploration of the role EMS clinicians play in identifying and referring patients who sustain repeat falls into alternative pathways is needed.

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