Declining age-adjusted incidence of fall-induced injuries among elderly Finns

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Background: elderly people's fall-induced injuries are a major public health challenge.

Methods: we determined the current trends in the number and age-adjusted incidence (per 100,000 persons) of fall-induced injuries among older adults in Finland by taking into account all persons 80 years of age or older who were admitted to Finnish hospitals for primary treatment of a first fall injury over the period 1970–2009.

Results: the number of fall-induced injuries in elderly Finns increased considerably during the study period: for women and men separately, these numbers were from 927 to 10,333 (an 11-fold rise), and from 212 to 3,258 (a 15-fold rise), respectively. In both genders, the age-adjusted incidence (per 100,000 persons) of fall-induced injuries increased till the late 1990s but decreased thereafter, the incidence being 2,729 (women) and 1,455 (men) in 1970, and 5,930 (women) and 4,240 (men) in 2009. Even with the current injury incidence the number of these injuries is expected to more than double by the year 2030.

Conclusion: the rise in the age-adjusted incidence of hospital-treated fall injuries of 80 year old and older Finns from the 1970s to the late 1990s has been followed by declining injury rates. Despite this we have to effectively continue implementation of fall prevention actions.

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