A plan to reduce falls in Australia and New Zealand

A plan to reduce falls in Australia and New Zealand

A report has been launched by the Australian and New Zealand Falls Prevention Society (ANZFPS) that proposes a plan for urgent and coordinated action that could reduce falls by 30% and turn the tide on a $2.3 billion healthcare burden.

The report makes the following recommendations:

  1. Establish a National Falls Prevention Coordination Group.
  2. Develop and implement a 5-year national plan for preventing falls that is funded.
  3. Engage all levels of government and a broad range of sectors.
  4. Include falls prevention strategies for people across the lifespan in all settings.
  5. Greater investment in research.

A report was developed to address the following key points and is backed by researchers, academics, clinicians and consumer groups:

  • Falls among older people are a large and growing problem in Australia.
  • Every day 14 Australians aged 65+ will die from a fall and 364 will be admitted to hospital.
  • There is one fall-related visit to an emergency department by an older Australian every two and a half minutes.
  • Treatment of injuries from falls cost over $2.3 billion in 2020.
  • There are multiple flow-on effects, including loss of independence and family impact.
  • Changing falls requires a coordinated government action, including a well-implemented national fall prevention strategy which could reduce falls by 30% within 12 months.

 “Falls can cause people to lose their independence, and in many cases their lives. Fall injuries often result in fear of future falls and leads to social isolation and impacts on quality of life. Falls are the leading cause of hospitalised injuries and injury deaths in people aged 65 years and above, and should be looked at as an urgent public health concern.

“Strong evidence suggests that coordinated government action on falls prevention reduces falls by 30% in just one year resulting in long-term benefits for health, quality of life and independence” said Professor Kim Delbaere, report co-author, President of the ANZFPS.

Professor Cathie Sherrington, report co-author and Lead Chief Investigator of the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence – Prevention of Falls Injuries: The University of Sydney, added: “International guidelines recommend a tailored approach with support for exercise to maximise physical function throughout life and health care to address other risk factors. Investment in fall prevention programs can be cost-effective.”

Aging demographics and the resulting increased rate of falls are an issue around the world and require coordinated action across all sectors.

A copy of the full report can be accessed here: ANZFPS_Why investing in falls prevention across Australia can’t wait

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