Demographic Fall Predictors in a Rural Level One Trauma Center

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Falls are the number one mechanism of injury for The Trauma Center and Johnson City Medical Center (JCMC TC). JCMC TC is one of two level one trauma centers in the region and one of only six in the state. The main method for trauma prevention is outcome specific education and awareness. Injury prevention education is a critically needed area in the field of trauma and emergency care. Falls are the number one cause of injury in populations age >65. Socioeconomic status, age, gender, and race are all mitigating factors in the likelihood of greater length of stays, death in hospital, and death within one year of discharge for those who fall in a home setting. According to the CDC, people over the age of 75 are four to five times more likely than people under 75 to be admitted to a long-term care facility for more than a year. What is the relationship between patient characteristics and fall related outcomes in a level one trauma center? We looked at associations between patient demographics and associated outcomes for those admitted to the trauma center secondary to a ground level fall (GLF) in the home. Dataset: De-identified National Trauma Databank information was compiled by the JCMC Registrar for the past 8 years for the metrics: Injury Severity Score (ISS), length of stay, 48hr readmission, and disposition (home, nursing home, skilled nursing facility (SNF)).Demographic information, along with mechanism of fall, was collected for each patient. Patient age, gender, and date of injury was all used for statistical analysis and trend recognition. Statistical Analysis: Bivariate analyses included independent samples t-tests and Oneway ANOVA to find differences between groups. Results: T-test results show women are significantly more likely than men to be admit for a ground level fall (p<.001) and those with a higher ISS are more likely to have an extended stay in an inpatient setting (p<.001). One-Way ANOVA analysis of collected data shows an annual increase from 2006-2013 of trauma admissions for ground level falls (p<.01). Eight year analysis showed a two-fold increase in these admissions. Over 30% of patients admitted with a GLF are discharged to a SNF leading to higher societal costs due to Medicare reimbursement rates. Diagnosis related groups codes (DRG) dictate Medicare reimbursement rate of $14,091 per patient with an average facility cost of $14,196 per patient with no readmissions (Unplanned readmission within 180 days occurred at a rate of 8.3%). Conclusion: Fall education programs are necessary and needed in rural level one trauma centers to educate citizens on causes and methods of preventing falls in their homes. A decrease in these falls would lead to an increase in productive years of life and a reduction in strain on the hospital system.


Johnson City, TN

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