The incidence and cost of injurious falls associated with visual impairment in the UK

P. A. Scuffham, R. Legood, E. C. F. Wilson, T. Kennedy-Martin, R Reading

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Purpose: We estimated the incidence and cost of accidental falls for the population with visual impairment, and the incidence and cost of falls directly attributable to visual impairment for the UK in 1999. Methods: A prevalence-based cost model of medical care was developed using national data for Accident and Emergency (A&E) attendances and hospital inpatient admissions. The population with visual impairment was based on the age-specific prevalence rates of visual impairment. The number of falls directly attributable to visual impairment was estimated from the relative risk of falls for visual impairment reported in the literature. The number of health service resource events in each age group (0–14, 15–64, 65–74, and 75+ years) was multiplied by the respective cost of each event. Results: There were over 2.35 million accidental falls in the UK that required hospital treatment in 1999. Of these falls, 189,000 occurred in individuals with visual impairment, of which 89,500 can be attributed to the visual impairment itself. The estimated medical costs of these falls were £269 m (range: £193 m–£360 m) and £128 m (range: £32 m–£240 m), respectively. Eighty-nine percent of these falls and the majority of costs occurred in those aged 75 years and over. Results were most sensitive to the relative risks of falls and the proportion of long-term care costs attributed to the fall. Conclusions: Of the total cost of treating all accidental falls in the UK, 21% was spent on the population with visual impairment and 10% was directly attributable to visual impairment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalVisual Impairment Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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