A longitudinal study was conducted to investigate the effects of injury type and discharge placement on mortality, falls, hospital admissions, and changes in activities of daily living (ADLs) over a 12-month period among older fallers. Of 762 community-dwelling people aged 65 years or older who visited an emergency department (ED) of a general hospital in Taiwan due to a fall, 273 sustained a hip fracture, 157 had a vertebral fracture, 47 had a distal forearm fracture, 102 had a traumatic brain injury, and 183 had soft-tissue injuries. Results showed that, compared to patients with a soft-tissue injury, those with TBI had significantly higher risks of dying (rate ratio (RR) = 3.59) and hospital admissions (RR = 3.23) and better improvement in ADLs (1.93 points) at 6 months post-injury, and those who sustained a hip fracture (4.26 and 4.41 points), a vertebral fracture (3.81 and 3.83 points), or a distal-forearm fracture (2.80 and 2.80 points) had significantly better improvement in ADLs at 6 and 12 months post-injury. Patients discharged to a nursing home had a significantly increased risk of death (RR = 2.08) and hospital admission (RR = 2.05) than those returning to their usual residence during the first year post-injury. No significant differences in the occurrence of falls during the first post-injury year were found among patients with different injury types or between those with different discharge placements. In conclusion, among the five major fall injury types in older people, TBIs result in the highest risk of death and hospital admissions, while hip and vertebral fractures exhibited the largest improvement during the first year after injury. Additionally, nursing home care may be associated with increased risks of death and hospital admissions than home care. In addition to primary prevention of falls, further research to investigate mechanisms leading to TBIs during a fall is needed to facilitate effective secondary fall-prevention programs for older people.
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