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Costs of Falls Among Older Adults

Treating fall injuries is very costly.  In 2015, costs for falls to Medicare alone totaled over $31 billion.1  Because the U.S. population is aging, both the number of falls and the costs to treat fall injuries are likely to rise.

  • Each year, millions of people 65 and older are treated in emergency departments because of falls.2  
  • Over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a broken hip or head injury.2  
  • Fall injuries are among the 20 most expensive medical conditions.3  
  • The average hospital cost for a fall injury is over $30,000.1 
  • The costs of treating fall injuries goes up with age.1 

How Are Costs Calculated?

Direct medical costs include fees for hospital and nursing home care, doctors and other professional services, rehabilitation, community-based services, use of medical equipment, prescription drugs, and insurance processing.

Direct costs do not account for the long-term effects of these injuries such as disability, dependence on others, lost time from work and household duties, and reduced quality of life.

 

References

  1. Burns EB, Stevens JA, Lee RL. The direct costs of fatal and non-fatal falls among older adults—United States. J Safety Res 2016:58.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web–based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. Accessed August 5, 2016.
  3. Carroll, N. V., Slattum, P. W., & Cox, F. M. (2005). The cost of falls among the community-dwelling elderly. J Manag Care Pharm, 11(4), 307-16.

 

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