Hong Kong Med J 2007;13(Suppl 1):S8-12
Falls and fall-related injuries in community-dwelling elderly persons in Hong Kong: a study on risk factors, functional decline, and health services utilisation after falls
LW Chu, I Chi, AYY Chiu
Division of Geriatric Medicine, Department of Medicine, Queen Mary Hospital, The University of Hong Kong
1. The incidence of falls and the prevalence of those who have encountered a fall in the communitydwelling elderly in Hong Kong was 270 per 1000 person-years and 19.3%, respectively. Serious injuries and fractures occur in 7.2 and 5.9% of fallers, respectively.
2. Independent predictors for falls are advancing age, Parkinson’s disease, previous history of falls, left knee extension power and gait speed. Independent predictors for recurrent falls are previous history of falls, self-perceived mobility problems, left knee extension power, total mobility score in the Tinetti Balance and Gait Test.
3. ‘Fear of falling’ is a common postfall complication.
4. Fallers commonly experience decline in physical functions and the activity of daily living.
5. Fallers, particularly recurrent fallers, consume more health care services than non-fallers. The excess annual health care costs of fallers versus non-fallers amount to HK$552 million for all community-living elderly in Hong Kong.
6. Effective falls prevention programmes in Hong Kong might reduce falls and fall-related health service utilisation by up to 30%. The possible saving in public health care costs would be approximately HK$160 million annually.