The purpose of this paper is to explore the whole system cost of the care pathway for older people (aged 65-years old and over) admitted to hospitals as a result of falls in Torbay, a community of 131,000 in the southwest of England with a high proportion of older residents, over a two-year period.
The paper analysed patient-level linked acute hospital, community care and local authority-funded social care data to track patients’ care costs – for those patients admitted to an acute hospital due to their fall – in the 12 months before and after their fall.
On average, the cost of hospital, community and social care services for each admitted for a fall were almost four times as much in the 12 months after admission, than the cost of the admission itself. Over the 12 months that followed admission for falls, costs were 70 per cent higher than in the 12 months before the fall. The most dramatic increase was in community health care costs (160 per cent), compared to a 37 per cent increase in social care costs and a 35 per cent increase in acute hospital care costs. For patients who had a minor fall and those who survived 12 months after the fall, the costs of care home services increased significantly; for patients with hip fracture, the costs of community care services increased significantly; for patients who did not survive 12 months after the fall, the cost of acute inpatient and community health visits increased significantly.
This is the only study that has assessed the costs across the acute hospital, community care and social care pathway for this group of patients, in an English population. This will help commissioners and providers understand and develop better-integrated responses to frail elderly patients needs.
The authors would like to thank David Oliver (Visiting Fellow, The King's Fund and President Elect of the British Geriatrics Society), Richard Humphries (Assistant Director, The King's Fund) and Lara Sonola (Senior Researcher, the King's Fund) for their assistance, support and comments on this paper. Trudy Corsellis (Torbay and South Devon Health and Care NHS Trust) supplied the authors with data, for which they are grateful.
Tian, Y., Thompson, J. and Buck, D. (2014), "The cost of falls: Exploring the cost of the whole system pathway for older people in a rural community in England", Journal of Integrated Care, Vol. 22 No. 4, pp. 165-173. https://doi.org/10.1108/JICA-04-2014-0012Download as .RIS
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