Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

School

Public Health

Advisor

Aaron Mendelsohn

Abstract

Falls can lead to unintentional injuries and possibly death, making falls an important public health problem in terms of related health care cost, incurred disabilities, and years of life lost. Approximately 1 in every 3 Americans ages 65 years and older is at risk of falling at least once every year. Children, young adults, and middle-aged adults are also vulnerable to falls. The purpose of this study was to examine the epidemiology of falls and fall-related injuries using surveillance data from nationally representative samples of hospital emergency departments in United States. The study was guided by a social-ecological model on the premise that multiple levels of risk factors affect health. Using a cross-sectional study and archival data from NEISS-AIP between 2009 and 2011, the result of multiple logistic regression indicated that age, gender, race and body part affected were significantly associated with hospitalization due to falls (p < .001) and incident locale independently predicted hospitalization due to falls in which hospitalization due to falls was considered a proxy measure of fall severity. The odds in each of the groups for fall injuries were (a) older adults versus children, 1.07 (95% CI: 1.05â??1.08); (b) males versus females, 1.23 (95% CI: 1.21â??1.26); (c) Blacks versus Whites, 2.12 (95% CI: 2.11â??2.13); (d) body part extremities versus head area, 0.98 (95% CI: 0.97â??0.99); and (e) outside home versus inside home, 1.14 (95% CI: 1.13â??1.15). The results of this study may be important in forming and implementing age-specific prevention strategies and specialized safety training programs for all age groups, thereby reducing deaths, disabilities, and considerable health care cost associated with hospitalization due to fall-related injuries.

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