The risk of fall-related hospitalisations at entry into permanent residential aged care

Maria C. Inacio, Max Moldovan, Craig Whitehead, Janet K. Sluggett, Maria Crotty, Megan Corlis, Renuka Visvanathan, Steve Wesselingh, Gillian E. Caughey

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Background: Entering permanent residential aged care (PRAC) is a vulnerable time for individuals. While falls risk assessment tools exist, these have not leveraged routinely collected and integrated information from the Australian aged and health care sectors. Our study examined individual, system, medication, and health care related factors at PRAC entry that are predictors of fall-related hospitalisations and developed a risk assessment tool using integrated aged and health care data. 

Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted on N = 32,316 individuals ≥65 years old who entered a PRAC facility (01/01/2009-31/12/2016). Fall-related hospitalisations within 90 or 365 days were the outcomes of interest. Individual, system, medication, and health care-related factors were examined as predictors. Risk prediction models were developed using elastic nets penalised regression and Fine and Gray models. Area under the receiver operating characteristics curve (AUC) assessed model discrimination. 

Results: 64.2% (N = 20,757) of the cohort were women and the median age was 85 years old (interquartile range 80-89). After PRAC entry, 3.7% (N = 1209) had a fall-related hospitalisation within 90 days and 9.8% (N = 3156) within 365 days. Twenty variables contributed to fall-related hospitalisation prediction within 90 days and the strongest predictors included fracture history (sub-distribution hazard ratio (sHR) = 1.87, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.63-2.15), falls history (sHR = 1.41, 95%CI 1.21-2.15), and dementia (sHR = 1.39, 95%CI 1.22-1.57). Twenty-seven predictors of fall-related hospitalisation within 365 days were identified, the strongest predictors included dementia (sHR = 1.36, 95%CI 1.24-1.50), history of falls (sHR = 1.30, 95%CI 1.20-1.42) and fractures (sHR = 1.28, 95%CI 1.15-1.41). The risk prediction models had an AUC of 0.71 (95%CI 0.68-0.74) for fall-related hospitalisations within 90 days and 0.64 (95%CI 0.62-0.67) for within 365 days. 

Conclusion: Routinely collected aged and health care data, when integrated at a clear point of action such as entry into PRAC, can identify residents at risk of fall-related hospitalisations, providing an opportunity for better targeting risk mitigation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number686
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2021


  • Aged care
  • Falls
  • Injury
  • Risk-prediction


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