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181 Epidemiology of ambulance attended falls in adults in WA 2015–2020
  1. Paige Watkins1,
  2. Judith Finn1,4,5,
  3. Anne-Marie Hill2,
  4. Deon Brink4,
  5. Hideo Tohira1,3,
  6. Peter Buzzacott1
  1. 1Prehospital Resuscitation and Emergency Care Research Unit (PRECRU), Curtin School of Nursing, Curtin University, Bentley, Australia
  2. 2School of Allied Health, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
  3. 3Discipline of Emergency Medicine, Medical School, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
  4. 4St John Western Australia ambulance service, Belmont, Australia
  5. 5School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia


Background Western Australia’s (WA) ageing population is resulting in increased demand for emergency ambulance attendances to falls.

Methods The electronic patient care records of adult patients (>18 yrs.) who fell and required St John WA ambulance attendance between 1st Jan 2015 – 31st Dec 2020 were analysed.

Results 157,280 patients (female = 90,090, 57%) were attended by ambulances after falls, 116,801 (74%) within Perth metro region and 40,298 (26%) in rural WA (2015: 22,567; 2016: 24,116; 2017: 25,407; 2018: 26,833; 2019: 29,031; 2020: 29,326). Median age was 80 years [IQR 67–87]. 74,015 (47%) patients sustained a reported injury, most commonly: pain, laceration, swelling, abrasion, bleeding, and fracture. Ambulances were dispatched as priority one (lights and siren) in 30,196 (19%) cases; 84,642 (54%) priority two, and 42,156 (27%) as priority three. Following assessment and treatment, 123,754 (79%) patients were transported to hospital, 32,101 (20%) were not transported and <1% did not have transport data. Patients were transported at the following urgency: 2,006 (1%) were transported via urgency one (lights and siren); 23,365 (15%) via urgency two; 78,584 (50%) via urgency three; and 19,799 (13%) via urgency four to six.

Conclusion An increasing number of ambulance attendances are required each year for adults who fall. Between 2015–2020, approximately one-fifth of ambulances were dispatched to falls patients as a priority one, while after treatment only 1% patients were transported to hospital via the highest urgency.

Learning Outcomes Patient falls represent increasing demand for ambulance services.

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