Health care utilization and functional status in the aged following a fall

Douglas P. Kiel, Patricia O’sullivan, Joan M. Teno, Vincent Mor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


Falls in the aged may lead to increases in health care utilization and declines in functional status. The Longitudinal Study of Aging was analyzed to test the hypotheses that use of the health care system is greater in elderly persons subsequent to a fall in the preceding year than in those who have not fallen and that fallers are more likely to decline in function than are non fallers. One-time fallers and, especially repeated fallers, (2 or more falls in the preceding year) were at greater risk of subsequent hospitalization, nursing home admission, and frequent physician contact than were non fallers, after controlling for age, sex, self-perceived health status, and difficulties with activities of daily living. Similarly, one-time fallers, and especially repeated fallers, were at greater risk of reporting subsequent difficulties with activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, and more physically demanding activities. These findings highlight the significant impact that falls have on the health care system and on the individual.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-228
Number of pages8
JournalMedical care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Cohort study
  • Falls
  • Functional status
  • Health services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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