The impact of unintentional alcohol-related falls on emergency departments Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Background

    Alcohol is the cause of many injury presentations to the emergency department. There has been little research on alcohol-related falls in the broader adult population, which represent a substantial proportion of the total alcohol-related injury presentations to emergency departments.

    Methods

    A population-based retrospective analysis of public hospital emergency department presentations for Victoria for 2003-2015 was undertaken.

    Results

    Alcohol-related fall presentations have increased by 96% over the 13-year period, a rate of growth exceeding non-alcohol-related falls, all ED presentations, and Victorian population growth. Alcohol-related fall presentations are most prevalent in the 20-24 year age group, and among males. The severity of alcohol-related fall presentations is greater than non-alcohol-related fall presentations, based on triage scale ratings and admission rates, with head injuries being the most frequent type of injury.

    Conclusions

    Public health warnings about the risks of alcohol-related fall injuries and the need to seek medical treatment for head injuries in particular are necessary to raise awareness among younger people. Emergency staff vigilance with neurological assessments is needed for early diagnosis of traumatic brain injury in alcohol-related fall presentations to help prevent adverse outcomes.

publication date

  • 2019