People aged 65 and over have the highest risk of falling, with 30 per cent of people older than 65, and 50 per cent of people older than 80, falling at least once a year. About half of the people who fall do so at least twice in a year. In North Yorkshire this means about 40,000 people aged 65 and over fall at least once a year and about 20,000 fall at least twice in a year. Approximately 50 per cent of care home admissions (to hospital) result from falls and over 60 per cent of people in nursing homes fall each year. Half of people suffering a hip fracture never return to their previous level of independence. About ten per cent die within a month and about 20 per cent enter a care home. It is estimated that 20-30 per cent of ambulance call outs are to older people who have fallen.

The human cost of falling includes:

  • pain
  • distress
  • loss of confidence
  • loss of independence
  • increased isolation
  • depression

These can also affect family members and carers.

Definition of a fall

A fall is defined as an unintentional or unexpected loss of balance resulting in coming to rest on the floor, the ground or an object below knee level. A fall is distinguished from a collapse that occurs as a result of an acute medical problem such as an acute arrhythmia, a transient ischaemic attack or vertigo (NICE Quality Standard 86).

Falls prevention is a very cost effective intervention - there is clear evidence that comprehensive integrated falls prevention and management programmes reduce the incidence and severity of first falls - and proactive preventative management of 'first fallers' reduces the likelihood of a subsequent and more serious fall occurring.

Second North Yorkshire falls conference

Following the success of the first North Yorkshire falls conference in September 2014, a follow up event was held on 23 October 2015 at the Pavilions in Harrogate. You can read about the second North Yorkshire falls conference and download associated documents here