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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