Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

How dangerous are falls in old people at home?

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 282 doi: (Published 24 January 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;282:266
  1. D Wild,
  2. U S Nayak,
  3. B Isaacs


    From a survey in six general practices information was obtained on 125 people aged 65 and over who fell in their own homes. Three fractured their femurs and 15 had other fractures; most of the rest suffered only trivial injuries. Twenty lay on the floor for more than one hour; none were known to have suffered hypothermia. One-quarter of these patients died within one year of the fall, five times as many as in an age- and sex-matched control group; while of those who lay on the floor for more than one hour, half died within six months of the fall. Factors associated with mortality from falls were impaired mobility, abnormal balance, and a disturbed pattern of gait. Falls at home in old age are often indicative of the presence of severe ill health.