Fall-related emergency department visits involving alcohol among older adults☆
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Fall-related emergency department visits involving alcohol among older adults☆

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    • Alternative Title:
      J Safety Res
    • Description:
      Problem: Falls are the leading cause of injury deaths among adults aged 65 years and older. Characteristics of these falls may vary with alcohol use. Objective: Describe and compare characteristics of older adult fall-related emergency department (ED) visits with indication of alcohol to visits with no indication. Methods: Using nationally-representative 2015 National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program data, we compared demographic characteristics for fall-related ED visits by indication of alcohol consumption. Alcohol-indicated ED visits were matched on age group, sex, treatment month, and treatment day to ED visits with no alcohol indication using a 1:4 ratio and injury characteristics (i.e., diagnosis, body part injured, disposition) were compared. Results and discussion: Of 38,640 ED records, 906 (1.9%) indicated use of alcohol. Fall-related ED visits among women were less likely to indicate alcohol (1.0%) compared to ED visits among men (3.8%). ED visits indicating alcohol decreased with age from 4.1% for those 65–74 years to 1.5% for those 75–84 and <1% for those 85+. After controlling for age-group, sex, and month and day of treatment, 17.0% of ED visits with no alcohol indication had a traumatic brain injury compared to 34.8% of alcohol-indicated ED visits. Practical applications: Alcohol-indicated fall ED visits resulted in more severe head injury than those that did not indicate alcohol. To determine whether alcohol use should be part of clinical risk assessment for older adult falls, more routinely collected data and detailed information on the amount of alcohol consumed at the time of the fall are needed.
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