UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Fall-related deaths among older adults in British Columbia : cause and effect of policy change Joshi, Aayushi; Rajabali, Fahra; Turcotte, Kate; Beaton, M. Denise; Pike, Ian

Abstract

Background The British Columbia Coroners Service implemented a policy in 2010 advising the reclassification of underlying causes of deaths due to falls from ’natural’ to ’accidental’. This study investigates whether observed data trends reflect this change in practice, are artefacts of inconsistent reporting, or indicate a true increase in fall-related deaths. Methods Mortality data were analysed from 2004 to 2017 for cases with International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision fall codes W00–W19, occurring among adults aged 60 years and older. Results From 2010 to 2012, accidental fall-related deaths increased among those aged 80 years and older, followed by an increase in natural deaths with fall as the contributing cause. Conclusions Changes in reporting resulting from the 2010 policy change were observed; however, post-2012 data indicate a reversion to previous reporting practices.

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