Falls Awareness Week comes from the USA ‘Fall in Fall’, here in the North East and North Cumbria we want to introduce an annual Falls Awareness! The Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria alongside its Members and Partners want to promote Falls Prevention Awareness Week’ as falls are not normal part of ageing, or something that ‘just happens’ as you get older, they are preventable!

Falls and fractures are a common and a serious health issue faced by older people in the UK. Around a third of all people aged 65 and over fall each year and amongst older people living in the community, 5% of those who fall in a given year will suffer from fractures and hospitalisation. Every year, there are around 255,000 falls-related emergency hospital admissions in England among patients aged 65 and older. Falls are estimated to cost the NHS more than £2.3bn a year and the annual total cost of fragility fractures to the UK has been estimated at £4.4bn. In addition, falls and fractures are a cause of pain, loss of confidence, loss of independence, admission to institutional care and mortality.

It is estimated that an osteoporotic fracture to the wrist, hip or spine occurs every three seconds. Hip fractures are the most common type of osteoporotic fracture, with approximately 60,000 hip fractures occurring in the UK each year. Hip fractures cost the UK an estimated £2 billion a year, with most of the fractures requiring hospitalisation.  Around 20% of cases prove fatal and permanently disables 50% of those affected; only 30% of patients fully recover. The North East and North Cumbria has the highest rate of emergency admissions for hip fractures of all regions in England, and is significantly above the national average.

The Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria, on behalf of its Members and Partners, has created this short film to provide families and older people with practical tips to avoid falls.