Older Adult Falls Seen by Emergency Medical Service Providers
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Older Adult Falls Seen by Emergency Medical Service Providers

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  • Alternative Title:
    Am J Prev Med
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    Introduction Among people aged ≥65 years, falling is the leading cause of emergency department visits. Emergency medical services (EMS) are often called to help older adults who have fallen, with some requiring hospital transport. Chief aims were to determine where falls occurred and the circumstances under which patients were transported by EMS, and to identify future fall prevention opportunities. Methods In 2012, a total of 42 states contributed ambulatory data to the National EMS Information System, which were analyzed in 2014 and 2015. Using EMS records from 911 call events, logistic regression examined patient and environmental factors associated with older adult transport. Results Among people aged ≥65 years, falls accounted for 17% of all EMS calls. More than one in five (21%) of these emergency 911 calls did not result in a transport. Most falls occurred at home (60.2%) and residential institutions such as nursing homes (21.7%). Logistic regression showed AORs for transport were greatest among people aged ≥85 years (AOR=1.14, 95% CI=1.13, 1.16) and women (AOR=1.30, 95% CI=1.29, 1.32); for falls at residential institutions or nursing homes (AOR=3.52, 95% CI=3.46, 3.58) and in rural environments (AOR=1.15, 95% CI=1.13, 1.17); and where the EMS impression was a stroke (AOR=2.96, 95% CI=2.11, 4.10), followed by hypothermia (AOR=2.36, 95% CI=1.33, 4.43). Conclusions This study provides unique insight into fall circumstances and EMS transport activity. EMS personnel are in a prime position to provide interventions that can prevent future falls, or referrals to community-based fall prevention programs and services.
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