Older adult falls a a metropolitan airport: 2009-2010
English, James G.
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We investigated falls at a metropolitan airport to determine fall incidence, identify potential causes of these falls, and suggest opportunities for mitigation. We used de-identified incident reports of all falls requiring EMS response that occurred at the airport during 2009 and 2010. On average, one fall occurred every 2.3 days. Ninety-six percent (96%) of falls occurred in terminals. Of all falls, 44% occurred on escalators, making escalators the most common location. Seventy-two percent (72%) of fallers were females; 43% were ≥ 65 years; 92% of all falls resulted in a documented injury; 37% of falls resulted in transport to hospital emergency departments. Escalator fall risks include carrying bags (due to changes in baggage fees), using cells phones, not using handrails, and compromised strength and balance. Diverting at-risk passengers to elevators could significantly reduce the overall falls. Interventions targeting escalator falls have the greatest promise for reducing falls at this airport.
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