More ER Visits Due To Falls

The number of California seniors who land in emergency rooms after falling has risen sharply in recent years, as their population grows and they live longer with more chronic illnesses that often require an array of medications.

The number of visits to California emergency rooms by people over 65 who fell surged 38 percent from 167,785 in 2010 to 232,146 in 2015, according to data from the state’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

Some of the rise appears to be explained by the estimated 21 percent growth in the state’s senior population, from about 4.28 million in 2010 to 5.19 million in 2015, according to the California Department of Finance. Moreover, the ranks of people 85 and older, who account for one-third of all fall-related ER visits, are also swelling: That population grew by 19 percent in the same five-year period, according to the department’s data.

But while the number of ER visits caused by falling was significantly higher among people 85 and up, the rise in fall-related visits was markedly steeper among younger seniors from 2010 to 2015. The increase was 53.5 percent among people between the ages of 65 and 69, and 46.2 percent among 70 to 74-year-olds. That compares with 40.7 percent for the oldest seniors.

Read more about the trend in Anna Gorman’s coverage.