A Multi-Level Analyses of Charges and Cost of Fall-Related Hospitalizations Among Older Adults: Individual, Hospital, and Geospatial Variation


The growing population of older adults has attracted concern from policymakers due in part to the fact that they are at higher risk of costly and potentially injurious falls. Responding to this concern, this study investigated fall-related hospitalizations among those aged 65 and older. Hospitalizations rose from 49,299 to 58,931, with charges and costs (estimated based on charges) increasing from $2.5 billion to $3.6 billion and under $900 million to over $1.1 billion, respectively. The intraclass correlation coefficients from linear mixed-effect models (with charges and costs serving as dependent variables) indicated differences in hospitals accounted for nearly half or more of medical cost variation among older adults suffering a fall-related hospitalization. Nonmetropolitan residence, being aged 65–69 (versus older), and higher risk-of-mortality on admission indicated higher costs. Identifying trends of fall-related hospitalizations over time allows for key stakeholders to not only track the burden of falls among older adults but to also use this information to attract funding for fall prevention strategies from policy makers at various levels (e.g., locally, at the state). Further, identifying characteristics of individuals (e.g., age, race, sex) and places (e.g., rural areas) that carry a higher relative cost can serve to inform the targeted allocation of finite resources including local, state, or federal funding, but also existing evidence-based practices such as community and clinical interventions.

Publication Title

Journal of Aging and Social Policy