Falls represent a significant public health challenge, with incidence increasing by 2% each year. Falls worsen long-term outcomes and are a major precipitant of people moving from their own home to long-term residential or nursing care. Lacking physical ability or confidence to leave their homes can lead to patients becoming at risk of social isolation. Falls are very costly to health and social services.
After adjusting for age, the rate of emergency admissions for injuries due to falls in people 65 years of age or older is significantly higher in Gateshead than in England overall [Chart - Injuries due to falls]. It is predicted that there will be a 22% increase to 13,676 in the number of people aged 65+ affected by falls between 2019 and 2035. It is also predicted that there will be a 25% increase to 1,718 in the number aged 65+ admitted to hospital as a result of falls between 2019 and 2035.
The rate of hip fractures in people 65 years of age or older is similar to the England average; there were 250 admissions for hip fracture in this age group in 2017/18. [Chart - Hip fracture hospital admissions]. For every 100 emergency hospital admissions due to hip fracture that would be expected (based on the England average), there are 207 in Bridges ward which is significantly higher than Gateshead's ratio of 115 to 100 that would be expected [Map - Ward hip fracture emergency hospital admissions]. After a hip fracture, more than 30% of older people die within a year, 20% enter a care home, and only 46% return to their usual residence or previous level of independence.
It is thought that one third of falls can be prevented. Poor housing can lead to serious falls; Gateshead has a higher than average proportion of private rented dwellings and there remains a high level of poor housing in the private sector - see the section on Housing. Simple repairs or adaptations to dwellings can significantly reduce the risk of falls in the home as was found in the Gateshead Housing and Falling Prevention project, which identified housing that was increasing the risk of falls and provided remediation.
In 2017/18 666 people (0.8%) aged 50+ in Gateshead had osteoporosis. This compares to the England average of 0.6% [Chart - Osteoporosis prevalence] [See also: Osteoporosis prevalence by GP practice].
In 2017/18 there were 374 hospital admissions caused by unintentional and deliberate injuries in children (aged 0-14). As a rate there were 112.1 per 10,000 which is significantly higher than the England average of 96.4 and has remained consistently higher in recent years [Chart - Hospital admissions caused by injuries in children aged 0-14]. Gateshead's rate is significantly lower than the North East average of 130.4 [See also: Hospital admissions caused by injuries in children aged 0-17 by GP practice].
For childen aged under 5 there were 167 hospital admissions caused by unintentional and deliberate injuries. As a rate this equates to 150.8 per 10,000 which is significantly higher than the England average. This resumes the overall trend in recent years, which had seen hospital admissions reducing [Chart - Hospital admissions caused by injuries in children aged 0-4].
The wards with the highest rates are Blaydon, and Winlaton & High Spen - both of which are significantly higher than the Gateshead average [Map - Ward hospital admissions caused by injuries in children aged 0-4].
 Gateshead Falls Prevention Strategy and Action Plan, October 2013
 Falls Prevention Scheme Evaluation
 HES/ONS, 2017/18 (PHOF website)
 Projecting Older People Population Information System 2014 based population projections for 2019 estimate (POPPI website)
 Hospital Episode Statistics, HSCIC 2013/14-17/18 (Local Health website)
 Osteoporosis QOF Prevalence, 2017/18 (Muskuloskeletal Diseases website)
 Hospital Episode Statistics, HSCIC, 2017/18 (PHOF website)
 Hospital Episode Statistics, HSCIC, 2013/14 - 2015/16 (Local Health website)